Stone Washington
Batman Zero Year: Secret America
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By Stone Washington
August 15, 2015

"Because at the end of the day, what people are afraid of is the nothing of it. The randomness. The empty center. Stare into it and try to find meaning. You'll go mad. All you can do is fear, and survive. It's the truth."

~Red Hood

"But it's a new kind of crime this gang stands for. It's like crime beneath the skin. Something viral, hidden until it's too late."

~Bruce Wayne


Below is a summary of the book, "Batman Zero Year Secret City" part of the "New 52" Batman comic origin story. In my opinion this comic book is a brilliant representation of the transformation of the famous Dark Knight Hero while relating to many critical events that have transformed modern day America.

Zero Year Secret City: Part 1

The origin story begins with Gotham City six years ago where a notorious villain known as Red Hood One points a gun at a mysterious vigilante masked man in a van. The vigilante's civilian mask is torn exposing his mouth. He is surrounded by Red Hood and his gang on the top floor of a parking garage. Red Hood applauds him for his weeks of thwarting his gang's crimes, yet assures him it is futile now because Gotham belongs to him. Angered, the vigilante stomps the accelerator driving straight toward Red Hood, frightening the other gang members. In the van he grabs a grappling hook cannon anchors it through the cargo hold which reveals six handcuffed hostages, and shoots the hook through the windshield while driving off the parking garage. The hook shoots far out onto a construction crane and hoists the van over a body of water which drops all the hostages into the sea, just as the cable cord snaps dropping the van. The men are all saved by a cargo ship as Red Hood mockingly applauds the vigilante.

A flashback shows young Bruce Wayne (a billionaire businessman and philanthropist) as an adventurous young boy who explores different parts of Gotham City (modeled after America's New York City). In the present, located in a hidden laboratory the vigilante from earlier is revealed to be none other than 25-year-old Bruce Wayne, who has recently returned to Gotham after 7 years of training to fight crime across the World. Hanging upside down by magnetic sneakers, he tests his invention by holding weights while talking to his faithful butler Alfred. Bruce states that Red Hood One never takes off his helmet in front of his gang and that his gang is mostly made up of various Gotham citizens that have been brutalized or blackmailed into their predicament. Since everyone wears a red mask, the gang and its leader are faceless to each other. Alfred then asks if Bruce will remain faceless to Gotham, to which Bruce replies,

"This is Guerilla warfare. I'm more effective like this. This gang, it's growing faster than anyone knows. I can stop it. I just can't be distracted by Bruce Wayne right now,"

This worries Alfred on the danger of Wayne's methods. But Bruce assures him this is his mission driven by the tragic death of his parents by the hands of a criminal 15 years ago. As Bruce leaves his apartment (choosing not to live in his large manor) he is encountered by his uncle Philip Kane, a rich businessman currently in charge of Wayne Enterprises, Bruce's family company. Philip tells Bruce he's been keeping a tab on him during his time around the World and begs him to come back to Wayne Enterprises. Philip has built an even larger version of the company and reveals the many projects including chemical research and protective technology embedded in the production of weapons. Wayne disapproves of this methodology and rebukes Kane's offer as he chooses to be legally dead and absent from the World. Kane questions who Bruce really is in society, which triggers a flashback in Wayne's mind to he was age 10 embracing his father Thomas Wayne. Thomas questions why Bruce secretly explores Gotham City to which Bruce replies,

"That's why I love Gotham Dad. Because it's a place where you can be anyone. Where I can be... not Bruce Wayne. I mean, nobody knows who I am there. Not like school. The city lets me be anyone I want."

But even as a child Bruce does not have an identity he is comfortable with; he doesn't know who he is. Thomas then hands him a black crystal orb which is a new piece of Wayne technology designed to visually map a disaster sight with a 360 degree camera. The flashback is then cut off by a present conversation within Wayne Enterprises between Philip Kane and his strategist and advisor Edward Nygma (soon to be known as the famous villain: the Riddler). Kane is furious about the Red Hood gang stealing from his company and demands a solution from Nygma who tells him this predicament as a riddle which seems complicated but has simple, hidden answer. Nygma reveals that the answer to this riddle is for Kane to kill his nephew: Bruce Wayne.

Zero Year Secret City: Part 2

Another flashback reveals 10 year old Bruce falling down into a dark cave hole while exploring in his back yard. The black orb camera activates shining a bright light awakening the bat nest below, alerting the bats to swarm onto Bruce. Back in the present, speaking to Alfred, Bruce admits to his previous missions being failures as Red Hood's DNA is unknown, and the gang continues to expand. Alfred believes Bruce will not win his war against the villain sparking an argument between the two, "you fight as a ghost, and you let Bruce Wayne rot, you refuse to return to your home, thinking its apart from Gotham, yet the lifeblood of this city runs beneath that house," Alfred bellows.

Bruce grabs Alfred and mocks his conservatism, causing the butler to slap him across the face. Alfred apologizes and Bruce tells him to leave. Bruce then meets with Philip Kane at midnight in the Wayne History Museum. As Bruce criticizes Philip for allowing weapons in the hands of criminals, Philip begs Bruce to come back to Wayne Enterprise. When Bruce denies this, Philip turns on the lights to the museum revealing a group of upscale Gothamites and patrons all applauding at the "Prince of Gotham's" return. Philip told him he had to drag Bruce out of the cave of obscurity and into the spotlight. As people take pictures and ask questions Bruce angrily marches out of the room.

Walking past a model Sphynx statue Bruce is then confronted by Nygma who tells him the only exit is up ahead through the aviary wing. Nygma taunts Bruce with a riddle which he unravels revealing the secret of how Philip is selling weapons to the Red Hood. Bruce then climbs onto the Sphynx's head up through a latched window onto the roof unraveling Nygma's riddle "up a head" through the "aviary wing" (the window above). Riding a taxi home Bruce arrives at his apartment unknowingly being followed by the Red Hood gang. Entering his room Bruce pauses to find mysterious presents and balloons. Outside Red Hood One pushes a detonator which triggers a huge explosion inside Wayne's apartment.


Zero Year Secret City: Part 3

Using a large medieval shield, Bruce braces himself against the blast of the inferno only to be knocked through the room. Injured on the floor he is then helped up by none other than the Red Hood leader and four of his gang who have raided Wayne's assortment of weaponry. They begin to beat down on Bruce with a mace, an iron glove, a pick axe and other tools until he lies on the floor in a pool of blood. While still conscious Red Hood tells Bruce of how the death of the billionaire's parents changed his life. The fact that his parents were murdered by a nobody criminal for no good reason gave Red Hood the philosophy of nihilism,

"Because at the end of the day, what people are afraid of is the nothing of it, Bruce. The randomness. The empty center. Stare into it and try to find meaning. You'll go mad. All you can do is fear, and survive. It's the truth."

In the midst of the building falling apart the Red Hood gang escapes the fire, after shooting Bruce through the stomach. Bruce then musters up the last of his strength and limps out of the burning building via his secret laboratory elevator. Miraculously he makes it back to Wayne manor where he collapses from exhaustion, during which he has a flashback of how as a boy he was rescued from the cave of bats and fell into a similar comatose state. Elsewhere at Wayne Enterprises, Philip Kane holds Nygma at gun point for hiring the Red Hood gang to assassinate his nephew Bruce. Before he can shoot him, Nygma activates a fail-safe AC magnet that pulls Philip and his gun to the ground. As Kane curses his strategist for being an empty question mark no one would ever acknowledge, Nygma gathers his things and leaves.

At Wayne manor, it is revealed that Bruce has survived through the help of Alfred's medical knowledge, leaving the billionaire heavily bandaged from his injuries. Alfred tells Bruce that despite past disagreements and feuds no matter how much trouble or pain Bruce is in, he will always be there to patch him up. Bruce takes his leave and walks through his manor, contemplating his blunders. He confronts a statue of his father and begs for answers on how to win his war on crime. Suddenly the black camera orb he kept as a child glows in his hand revealing a huge holographic image of the cave walls that the mansion covers. Through a cave window the holograph reveals a swarm of bats that fly through the house, giving him the revelation of how he must fight crime, "Yes father. I shall become a Bat."

Months later, Bruce has healed and built a laboratory in a cave beneath his mansion. The story shifts over to a handful of Red Hood thugs stealing gas canisters from a chemical laboratory. They about a mysterious bat monster that has terrorized gang members the past few weeks. Suddenly five of the six thugs are swept up off the rooftop and tied down to a billboard leaving the last one to behold the revelation of the Batman (Bruce Wayne's alter ego), the World's first superhero. The next day Red Hood One hears about his subordinates being defeated by Batman, but only pushes forward into his schemes by robbing various chemicals and nuclear fuel, while drowning out these crimes with random nonsensical crimes to divert attention from his scheme. Bruce Wayne later meets with Philip Kane, who is overjoyed to see that Bruce is alive. He reveals how the gang has sucked his company dry and that he can't help him. Later Bruce and Alfred contemplate the Red Hood gang and reveal where they plan to unleash their ultimate crime.


Later that night Bruce goes in front of all the Gotham news channels to reveal why he has returned to Gotham, and how it has transformed him. He then reveals how the Red Hood gang plans to unleash a flesh-eating chemical cocktail that will explode in random parts of the city, starting in the ACE chemical building behind him. Suddenly three ballistic missiles are launched from the roof and explode, knocking all the news casters back. Bruce then sneaks into the chemical plant with the help of Alfred hacking the security. While inside the building suddenly he is surrounded by Red Hood One and his underlings who applaud him for revealing their master plan on the anniversary of Bruce's parent's death. As the police struggle to open the doors, Bruce insults Red Hood One, who holds the billionaire at gun point. Before Red Hood One shoots Bruce, the power is knocked out, allowing Bruce to change into his Batman suit suddenly turning the lights back on and moving in to attack.

Red Hood One hides while Batman swoops in on the dozens of Red Hood criminals. The Dark Knight pummels through thug after thug with his array of martial arts techniques and unique gadgets, rendering the crowd of criminals powerless. But unknown to Batman, Red Hood One aims a large pistol at the hero and prepares to shoot, but is thwarted by a rogue Red Hood member, who is killed in the process. As Batman reveals the man to be none other than Philip Kane, his Uncle, the police led by Lt. James Gordon (soon to be a famous character), corner the hero. Suddenly Batman pushes Gordon out of the way of a two ton metal rod, saving his life.

The police allow Batman to escape, and the Dark Knight chases Red Hood One on the rooftop as he ascends into the air on a helicopter. As the building explodes from Red Hood's scheme, Batman shoots a grappling hook around the villain's ankle, pulling him down as the rooftop caves in. The two land inside the building on a platform above a chemical vat of acid. Batman and Red Hood battle each other until the platform they stand on tilts Red Hood over the edge leaving Batman to try and grab his hand. But Red Hood tells him his reign of terror is just beginning and he willingly drops into the vat of acid below.

Message for modern day

The origin of Batman brings forth many comparisons to modern day America. Young Bruce Wayne represents Colonial America during the 1600s and 1700s, split into 13 separate colonies under the British Empire. Like Bruce Wayne, America didn't have a true identity until we unified as one Nation under the American flag and revolted against Britain in 1776. This transformation reflects how Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, breaking away from conventional citizenry and fighting as a symbol of hope for his city of Gotham. Similar to how Wayne traveled the World gaining skills from different countries, America is the only nation in the World made up of a wide array of cultures originating from virtually every nation across the globe.

The Red Hood leader represents the essence of the Progressive Democrat worldview, believing the World is inevitably doomed to its own destruction and the only way to live is to speed up the process by breeding chaos. His gang of blackmailed Gotham citizens is similar to how the Democrat elites blind their following with lies and "business as usual politics" while rewarding the American people with nationwide disasters such as rapidly increasing the national beyond $200 trillion debt (the $19 trillion debt figure is false) and record high welfare recipients made up of mostly Blacks and Hispanics, many of whom are illegal immigrants hijacking job opportunities from hardworking citizens (which Obama has provided amnesty for over 30 million illegal aliens).

Like Red Hood, the Democrat elitists dress nicely and appear friendly before 90% of the biased news media that glorifies them, despite their destructive policies and corrupt worldview that has crippled America for over a hundred years since the first Progressive President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), ironically a Republican. Since then Progressivism has spread like a virus beneath the skin of corrupt Politicians in both the Republican and the Democrat party. Like Red Hood, Progressive liberals live by no values or morals as they ultimately worship the philosophy of Machiavelli's "the end justifies the means" and nihilism, the rejection of all religious and moral principles in the belief that life is meaningless.

This philosophy empowers Progressives to do whatever they desire like Hillary Clinton at the expense of the Americans who voted for them. Like Batman, America must reclaim our identity as the greatest nation in history and rise up against this tyranny by voting out every Democrat in the nation and upholding the Constitution and rule of law against lawless Progressive fascists like, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Lois Lerner, etc... who strip America of its natural God given rights while continually evading retribution by twisting the law to suit their crony methods and leaving a cowardly Republican Party to do nothing.

© Stone Washington

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Stone Washington

Stone Washington is a PhD student in the Policy Studies Program at Clemson University Graduate School. Stone is also employed as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Clemson’s Department of Political Science. He is a recent graduate of the Juris Master program at Emory University School of Law (May 2020) and a graduate of Clemson University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Minor in Political Science (May 2019). While studying at Emory Law, Stone has been featured in an exclusive JM Student Spotlight, highlighting his most memorable law school experience. Stone is the website administrator for Ellis Washington Report and a contributing writer. He recently completed a journalism fellowship at The Daily Caller, is an alumnus of the Young Leader’s Program at The Heritage Foundation, and served as a former student intern/Editor for Decipher Magazine. Many of Stone’s articles can be found at EllisWashingtonReport.com, which offer a critical analysis on prominent works of classical literature and its correlations to American history and politics. Stone is a member of the Project 21 Black Leadership Network, and has written a number of policy-related op-eds published on websites such as The Washington Times and Inside Sources. In addition to this, he has represented Project 21 in numerous radio interviews. During his undergraduate studies, Stone wrote for his school newspaper, the Tiger Town Observer, and the higher education news websites: Campus Reform, The College Fix, and Red Alert Politics. Friend him on his Facebook page, also his Twitter handle: @StoneWashingto2 and Instagram. Contact Stone at his email: Stonebone20@att.net.


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