By: Scott Snyder (writer), Greg Capullo (pencils), Danny Miki (inks) and FCO Plascencia (colors)

The Story: Batman and gang get a little closer to solving the Riddler’s riddle.

Review (with SPOILERS): This doesn’t have to be the most complex review ever.  This is another wonderful issue of Batman’s Zero Year story.  It is well-written (as always) and beautifully illustrated (as always) and Zero Year will be another instant-classic when it finishes with issue #33.

There are a lot of wonderful moments in this issue and I loved seeing The Gang (Batman, Gordon and Lucius) planning how to take down The Riddler.  I love the Riddler and how he’s just smarter than everyone. His power is being smart.  How cool is that for a group of people like comic fans….considering that comic fans usually consider themselves pretty damn smart?  And we get to see Post-Apocalypse Batman fighting a effing LION!  Where is the Post-Apocalypse Batman action figure?

All of that is excellent. But…(you knew there was a “but” coming)

1. The story is taking too long.  This is not so much an issue of length but of duration. Even with the Zero Year story being broken into segments, it has been going on for a long time.  It’ll make a fine collected edition (as I’ve said over and over), but in terms of monthly serial publication it is a little too long for me….and we have two more months to go.

2. Seeing The Gang concocting a plan versus The Riddler made me realize that this story needs a Robin.  I understand solo-Batman stories, but if the story is telling the essence of how Bruce became Batman and formed his various relationships AND the story has introduced a new Robin-like character, that character should be involved in the final act.

3. A few art hiccups.  Most of this issue was typically awesome….but there were a few unsteady panels where the art wasn’t quite up to the team’s stellar standards.  It’s just little things: coloring that is a little flatter and doesn’t give a sense of depth, slightly less detail in the inking, etc.  It isn’t that you think, “That’s a bad panel.”……it’s more that you think, “That wasn’t as awesome as it could have been.”  This is the other problem with a really long story….the art team gets beaten to death.

Those are all pretty self-explanatory and there’s no reason to belabor them…especially because I DO legitimately like the story.  It’s just a little too long and needs a little more Robin in it.

Conclusion: Zero Year is still going very strong.  But it is still going.

Grade: B

– Dean Stell