We watch in another shot as water rushes through the streets of downtown Gotham, taking cars, buses, and anything else in its path with it. There will undoubtedly be casualties as Gotham drowns, turning the city into a No Man’s Land that only the Batman can save.
Doesn’t that sound familiar? If you’ve read Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s legendary Batman run from the early 2010s, you likely recognized the Riddler’s plan immediately. After all, it’s ripped straight out of 2013’s “Zero Year,” one of Snyder and Capullo’s most celebrated Batman stories. In those comics, new villain the Riddler cuts all power in Gotham and blows up the reservoir, all while a hurricane is pummeling the city. This cripples Gotham, leaving it a flooded, post-apocalyptic wasteland virtually overnight, with the Riddler now in full control.
On top of being the canon Batman origin story, “Zero Year” turns the Riddler into Gotham’s first major supervillain and one of the most formative characters in the Dark Knight’s journey. It’s by defeating the Riddler in “Zero Year” that Bruce is able to complete his transformation into the symbol of hope and justice that Gotham needs.
All three trailers released so far have teased a recurring image: Batman, flare in hand, leading the citizens of Gotham through the dark, flooded city streets. This too could be a nod to Batman’s evolution in “Zero Year” from street-level vigilante to something much bigger: the city’s light in dark times.
“Zero Year” isn’t the movie’s only big comic book influence, of course. Reeves has cited the usual suspects as major sources of inspiration — “Year One” by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli and The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale — as well as Darwyn Cooke’s Ego. The latter book was described as particularly influential by Reeves, who sought to take a deep dive into Batman’s psyche in the new movie, all while setting the story during year two of the Dark Knight’s career, a phase of the character that’s been explored in the comics for decades.
It’ll be very interesting to see what other stories Reeves nods to when The Batman hits theaters on March 4.
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