Zero Year is a comic book event spinning out of Batman (Volume 2) #0, detailing Bruce Wayne's first year as Batman in The New 52, as the Riddler terrorizes Gotham City and dares its denizens to out-think him. The storyline ran for twelve issues in Batman (Volume 2), crossing over with other titles in November 2013 to show how the events of Zero Year affected other characters in the DC Universe. Batman Annual (Volume 2) #2 and Batman (Volume 2) #23.2: The Riddler explored the repercussions of Zero Year on the modern status quo.
With only his mission in mind and no care for his legacy as a Wayne, Bruce moved himself out of Wayne Manor and into a brownstone on Park Row from which he based his early attempts to infiltrate the Red Hood Gang after only six weeks back in Gotham. Bruce Wayne temporarily became a voluntary patient at Arkham Asylum, almost going through with a shock therapy that would erase his very identity so as to avoid his grief, but he backed out at the last second, and never told this to even his butler, Alfred Pennyworth. Despite trying to remain off the grid, Bruce's uncle Philip Kane had kept tabs on him. He had also gained control of Wayne Enterprises in Bruce's absence, and had hired a strategist in Edward Nygma, on whose advice he urged Bruce to return to the company. When Bruce refused, Nygma suggested Phillip have him killed. Finding little success in his battle with the Red Hood, and in conflict with Alfred about the best way to proceed, Bruce agreed to meet Phillip at the museum in the hopes of preventing the sale of WayneTech devices to the gang through his uncle's subsidiaries. At the museum, though, Philip outed Bruce's return to the media. After storming off angrily, Bruce encountered Nygma, who revealed both his penchant for riddles and the fact that Philip had given more to the Red Hood Gang than just weapons. Not long after returning home, the Red Hood Gang blew up the Park Row brownstone with Bruce inside. Learning of this, Philip confronted Nygma, blaming him. His strategist out-thought him, though, and tendered his resignation. Bruce had survived the explosion, though, and crawled through underground tunnels, back to Wayne Manor, where, in his father's study, he discovered a mapping device which projected an image of the cave below the manor, and the bats that lived inside. He was inspired, then, to take on the appearance of a bat.
The Red Hood Gang's recruitment methods involved blackmail that forced its members to commit anonymous crimes. Philip Kane was recruited, and confessed as much to Bruce when he learned his nephew had survived. With his return to Gotham made public, Bruce held a press conference outside the ACE Chemical plant to expose the Red Hood Gang's plans. The gang attempted to disrupt it, and Bruce ducked inside the plant in the confusion, with Lt. Jim Gordon close behind. When cornered by Red Hood One, Bruce caused a power outage, and reveals his Batsuit for the first time. In their fight, Red Hood One was knocked into a vat of chemicals. Despite this victory, an EMP detonation soon removed power from the entire city, with Edward Nygma taking responsibility under the name of The Riddler. He warned that he would not restore power until someone could outsmart him.
Following the blackout, Commissioner Loeb declared the Batman a vigilante criminal. Bruce began investigating a series of murders apparently committed by Dr. Karl Helfern, formerly a Waynetech employee. In the meantime, he begins work on a jammer to prevent the Riddler from attacking again, should the power be restored. Finding Helfern a formidable opponent, Batman was forced to work with Jim Gordon, whom he still distrusted after witnessing him take a bribe years ago. While following the leads, Batman learned that Helfern was merely a pawn of the Riddler. With Jim's help, Batman determined the location of the Riddler's lair, in the hopes of answering the riddle, planting the jammer, and putting a stop to the plan to take control of the entire city's power grid. While Jim confronted the Riddler and failed, Batman confronted Helfern, and the jammer was destroyed. In that moment, the police efforts to restore power succeeded, inadvertently delivering control of the grid to Nygma, who then flooded the city and shut off the power.
Having been unconscious for months, Bruce woke to find the city overgrown and in chaos, with the Riddler in full control, nightly challenging the citizens to stump him with a riddle to prove they were smart enough to earn back their civilization. Jim Gordon, meanwhile, had been trying to get help from outside the city with little success, receiving only a six-man tactical team whose mission is only to cut a deal with the Riddler. He refuses their offer, and attempts to have them all killed, but they are saved at the last by Batman. Allied with Jim Gordon and his old friend Lucius Fox, Batman concocted a plan to piggyback the Riddler's signal to locate him while using the nightly challenge as a distraction. The plan went awry when the Riddler rejected the riddle and it became clear that he had anticipated the attempt to trace him. Making an educated guess, Batman hoped he would find Nygma in the museum where they had first met. There, the Riddler trapped him, and arranged for an air-strike to be launched against the city. If he wanted to stop it, Batman would have to solve a series of riddles on a life-sized board game. Though he solves the first few, the last answer doesn't satisfy Nygma. By that time, however, Lucius had managed to trace and block the Riddler's signals again, and Batman was able to bring him down. However, the signal to call off the air-strike was linked to Nygma's heart, and in order to shut it off, he would have to use thousands of volts of electricity - which would kill most men. Bruce took the device and let the current flow through himself, stopping both his heart and the air-strike. When Alfred resuscitated him, the power returned to the city.
Afterwards, Bruce partnered with Lucius in restoring Wayne Enterprises' good name, and Jim Gordon was made Police Commissioner. The Riddler was placed into Arkham Asylum. Telling Alfred of his temporary incarceration in the same institution, Bruce resolved to remain the Batman indefinitely to protect the city of Gotham.
- Secret City
- Dark City
- Savage City
- Action Comics (Volume 2) #25
- Batgirl (Volume 4) #25
- Batman Annual (Volume 2) #2
- Batman (Volume 2) #23.2: The Riddler
- Batwing #25
- Batwoman (Volume 2) #25
- Birds of Prey (Volume 3) #25
- Catwoman (Volume 4) #25
- Detective Comics (Volume 2) #25
- The Flash (Volume 4) #25
- Green Arrow (Volume 5) #25
- Green Lantern Corps (Volume 3) #25
- Nightwing (Volume 3) #25
- Red Hood and the Outlaws #25
Items: None known.
Vehicles: None known.
Weapons: None known.
- By the time of Batman (Volume 2) #1, Batman would have been active for an estimated five years.
- In DC Rebirth, events from Batman: Year One were reinstated in the timeline. However, Zero Year remains canon, co-existing with Year One.
- No trivia.
- No issues listed
Links and References
- ↑ https://www.dccomics.com/comics/batman-2011/batman-232-the-riddler
- ↑ https://www.dccomics.com/comics/batman-2011/batman-annual-2
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #0
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #33
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #21
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #22
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #23
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #24
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #25
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #26-Batman (Volume 2) #27
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #29
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #30
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #31
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #32
- ↑ Batman (Volume 2) #33
- ↑ https://www.cbr.com/ten-biggest-new-52-continuity-changes-dc-universe-rebirth-reversed/
- ↑ https://www.cbr.com/scott-snyder-batman-zero-year-dc-canon/
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