People love Batman for multiple reasons. They could have been sucked in by any one of the many movies (well, except maybe Batman and Robin), the amazing animated series from the 90s, the Adam West Batman series, or even a meme you saw on Facebook. Regardless of where you developed your love for the Caped Crusader, there is dozens of comics to choose from when it comes to reading a good batman story. But where is a good place to start? Batman "Zero Year" is the perfect place for new readers to start.
"Zero Year" may be book four in the New 52 reboot, it's the origin of Batman in this series. Bruce Wayne left the country and was pronounced legally dead. What Bruce Wayne is really doing is traveling the world searching for the best fighters and teachers in the world to transform him into a machine that could take on the criminals of Gotham City.
When Bruce returned to Gotham City he went right to work and didn't tell the world that he was actually alive. Bruce wanted to leave the old days behind and work without the restraint of his former life. With his butler and father figure Alfred Pennyworth by his side, Bruce went from being just a vigilante to Batman. A symbol that strikes fear into the hearts of man. Unfortunately, The Red Hood (who later became the Joker) was never scared. In fact, it motivated him. After Red Hood fell into the giant vat of chemicals to transform like his vigilante "friend did", came Edward Nygma.
More than many, Nygma put real fear into the people of Gotham City. He didn't have a bunch of goons running around dressed like him robbing and killing. He took away basic things that citizens of Gotham really needed. Things like electricity, food, water, and access to the world outside of Gotham. This left Gotham natives depressed, scared, and lost without any hope of coming out of this ok. This may have been Batman's first real challenge, but Nygma really tested Batman's resolve here.
Nygma doesn't have the physical strength to test Batman, but when Nygma is one of the smartest people in the world and is great at anticipating his opponents moves. So Batman had to dig deep inside himself and do something that he detests doing. He had to trust people. This would mark the first time James Gordon and Batman would work together. A relationship that we all know still bares fruit.
What makes this book so special is seeing Bruce grow as a person and how many bumps in the road he had before becoming Batman. It wasn't like he trained for years and came back as this tough symbol and immediately scared his enemies. He had to build up that rep by winning some, losing some, licking his wounds and then trying it again. The relationship between him and Alfred was also not always so great. It took a lot of arguing, yelling, and insults before the two of them really meshed. Bruce had thought that he could just run in and be the hero all by himself, but he was sadly mistaken. Watching Batman fail and pick himself up was great. This, more than a lot of Batman stories, is a must have for any Batman fan's collection.