News is breaking at all major comics blogs that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's next big Batman project will be an eleven-part arc dubbed The Year Zero. Quoth Snyder:
"It's not 'let's redo the origin.' It's time for a new story showing how Batman became who he is in the New 52. We tried to preserve as much of Batman's history as we could and keep what we could of this history intact. It's 'The Zero Year,' the one that no one has told the story of before. We see how Bruce became the Batman, built the cave, faced off with his first super villain ... It's time for a new story showing how Batman became who he is in The New 52. It builds up the mythology."
Most notably, Snyder also said: “We’re not going to take apart ‘Year One’... There’s no touching the hem of that book.”
Thing is, I can't entirely fault Snyder for this, nor is it a bad idea in theory. For all of Batman: Year One's considerable merits, it was really Jim Gordon's story in the year that Batman started. As such, it was up to stuff like stories in Legends of the Dark Knight to fill in the gaps and come up with that new backstory for the rebooted Post-Crisis era. While that's the era I like and while I don't want to see stories I enjoy get rebooted yet again, I certainly can't blame anyone for wanting to refresh that stuff for the DCnU reboot era. Retcons are part of the circle of life for DC.
On the other hand, Snyder's whole thing so far has been to build up his own original Batman mythology, like the Court of Owls being involved with everything, or the Joker always knowing that Bruce is Batman, or that James Gordon Junior is suddenly now Dexter but more evil. More annoyingly, he treats these revelations as if they've always been the case, with Jim Gordon Senior and Barbara talking about their long history with Junior as if it's old history now, or the fact that supposedly every child in Gotham knows about the Court of Owls via nursery rhyme but we're only now hearing about it. It's clunky retconning that technically doesn't retcon anything, while also not really jiving with established continuity.
Of course, this is a NEW continuity, so that shouldn't be a problem, right? It's Snyder's world now, and he's building it from the ground up. Okay, I get that... except, if that's the case, then why are they keeping Batman: Year One canon? Is he working with canon, or making his own? Well, we've been asking these kinds of questions ever since the DCnU was launched with all the foresight and planning of Leeroy Jenkins, so I guess it doesn't matter.
As always, I'm concerned about what's going to happen with the villains and supporting characters, especially after Snyder's abhorrent retcon of Mister Freeze's origin. If this is in the Year One-ish era, does that mean we'll be seeing D.A. Harvey Dent, and if so, what will Snyder do to him? Will the first "super villain" be the Riddler, since Snyder has been talking about doing a big Riddler story next? We'll have to wait and see, as always.
For right now, the biggest question I have--and one which I doubt anyone will answer--is what does this mean for Catwoman? If Batman: Year One is sacrosanct canon, does that mean that she still has the Frank Miller origin? The sex worker origin has been retconned out by the likes of Judd Winick and Ann Nocenti in Selina's own DCnU solo title, so are we ignoring what they've done because no one's read their stories and Miller's work is still incredibly popular? Or does no one really know nor care either way? Probably that one. I know I'll certainly be holding out hope that Selina's B:YO origin will be reinstated, partially because Selina's title has been utterly goddamn awful, and partially because Henchgirl showed us all just how great a character Selina became as a result of the Post-Crisis origin, so I'd like to that to be canon again. Insofar as ANYTHING is canon in the DCnU.