DC Zero Month, Week Four Reviews: ‘All-Star Western,’ ‘Aquaman,’ ‘Batman, Incorporated,’ And ‘Batman: The Dark Knight’

This September, DC Comics is turning it all the way back to zero, taking a look at what went on in the DCU before the New 52. Like we did a year ago with the first month of DC’s new universe, we’re going to give you some looks at all the “Zero Month” titles coming out over the next few weeks.

So here we go:

ALL-STAR WESTERN #0
Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, Art By Moritat

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Did Jonah Hex ever tell you how he got these scars?

BEST BIT: If you liked the previous Jonah Hex series, this is an issue of that. [And just to be clear, that series was awesome.]

WORST BIT: The last page is a bit confusing, even for a regular reader.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? Jonah Hex’s entire origin count as a big revelation?

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #13? Yes. Not because of the tease, or even this issue, but because Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray continue to deliver one of the most solid titles in comic book history.

AQUAMAN #0
Written by Geoff Johns, Art By Ivan Reis and Joe Prado

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? The origin of fish… REVEALED! Kidding, it’s basically ’Aquaman: Secret Origin #1,’ telling his history from the time his Dad dies, to when he discovers Atlantis.

BEST BIT: Aquaman first discovering he can talk to fish is a pretty fantastic silent sequence. Since fish can’t talk.

WORST BIT: The second half is very explainy, after an action packed first half.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? Yeah, tons. Much more about Atlantis, and a classic Aquaman villain who will definitely turn up soon gets sort of introduced. Plus, Johns clearly hasn’t gotten tired of magical, multi-colored trinkets from his time on Green Lantern.

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #13? Yup. I don’t know that this issue alone would have sold me, as that second half is very, very wordy; and we’re not heading back to this timeline next issue. But Aquaman has been a rollicking good ride so far, and I don’t see that stopping soon. The mythology Johns has been building up here keeps getting teased out at just the right rate, like giving a junkie their fix.

BATMAN, INCORPORATED #0
Written by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham, Art By Frazier Irving

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Between issues in the previous Batman, Inc. series, here’s what happened.

BEST BIT: The villains the Batman of Japan has been fighting are suitably ridiculous.

WORST BIT: Irving’s art is particularly murky here.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? Beyond filling in gaps between issues from a previous continuity that technically doesn’t exist anymore? No.

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #4? Well yes, because Morrison’s Batman is required reading… But this issue is non-essential, and confusing, and almost defeats the “new reader friendly” purpose of a Zero Issue, as you’d need to have memorized every previous issue of Batman Inc to make any sense of the comic. Which is unfortunate.

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #0
Written by Gregg Hurwitz, Art By Mico Suayan and Juan Jose Ryp

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Young Bruce Wayne investigates the massive conspiracy behind his parents’ murders!

BEST BIT: There’s a nice, if obvious bit with a clown poster melting in the rain.

WORST BIT: Spending an issue showing us how driven and serious young Bruce is, followed by Alfred telling him he hopes he outgrows his “boyish frivolity” on his birthday is either a joke, or unconnected to the narrative, but either way it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? We get the definitive truth behind the Wayne’s murder in current continuity, no real questions about it.

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #13? Probably not… This comic isn’t bad, but it suffers from being behind both Batman and Detective Comics as the third book to mine Batman’s well-mined back-story this month, not enough to get us excited and back on board.

All-Star Western #0, Aquaman #0, Batman, Incorporated #0, and Batman: The Dark Knight #0 all hit comic book stores on September 26th from DC Comics!