Batman: Year One

Batman: Year One

Lieutenant James Gordon takes up a new post in the crime-ridden and corrupt city of Gotham, while billionaire Bruce Wayne returns to the scene of his parents' deaths, intent on punishing the criminal element.Collects BATMAN #404-407....

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Title:Batman: Year One
Author:Frank Miller
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Batman: Year One Reviews

  • Sam Quixote

    You know the classics of literature - War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, Middlemarch? There are aspects to them to appreciate and patient readers can be rewarded greatly with those books. But let's be honest - most of us view classics as a bit of a chore. But what about classic comics? Kind of the same thing, but not for so many. Some classic comics, Marvel and DC especially, are tough to read because the stories from the 40s and 50s are so badly written and cheesy, and the art is hit or miss,

    You know the classics of literature - War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, Middlemarch? There are aspects to them to appreciate and patient readers can be rewarded greatly with those books. But let's be honest - most of us view classics as a bit of a chore. But what about classic comics? Kind of the same thing, but not for so many. Some classic comics, Marvel and DC especially, are tough to read because the stories from the 40s and 50s are so badly written and cheesy, and the art is hit or miss, though most of them possess a guileless charm to them that makes them easier to stomach. When it comes to comics, no character stands taller than Batman, and no Batman book has more of a reputation than Year One. Is it a chore to read? No. Has it aged poorly? Not even a bit. Does it deserve it's title as a true bona fide classic? (Austin Powers voice) Yeah, baby!

    Year One is Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli's retelling of Batman's origin and through their retelling they set the tone and standard for all other Batman books that followed. A 25 year old Bruce Wayne returns to a nightmarish Gotham City riddled with crime at the same time as an older but still young James Gordon, recently transferred to the GCPD and entering Gotham City for the first time. Both men have a clear mission: to clean up the streets of crime and make Gotham habitable for decent, hardworking folks.

    Some readers have wondered why Gordon gets as much space - maybe more - as Bruce Wayne in this book and the answer is simple: they're both two sides of the same coin. The very first Batman story opens with Bruce and Jim sitting, talking about crime, and Jim is arguably Batman's best friend. Batman's origin would tie in with Gordon's as their lives will be linked forever once they dig their heels in and bring justice to Gotham.

    It's been a few years since I read Year One and I really hoped it would hold up - and it did. Whatever your feelings are about Frank Miller today (and he has unfortunately gone from genius writer to crackpot old man), his work in the 80s ranks amongst the best the comics medium has ever produced, and Year One is arguably the pinnacle of that work. He went from telling the last Batman story ever with The Dark Knight Returns to, with his next book, going back to the very beginning and telling the first Batman story ever - and both are masterpieces.

    In just four issues, we see Bruce get into his first fight as an unmasked vigilante, to realising he must don a disguise, to the famous "Yes. Father. I will become a bat" scene, to his fledgling first missions to clear up corrupt police, mob bosses, and the iconic dinner party scene where he appears to Gotham's most powerful and evil to inform them they have eaten well but from now on none of them are safe. And the scene when Batman takes down the SWAT team? Brilliant. Still tense, exciting, and fantastic to read.

    It's a testament to Miller's writing that he's able to take Gordon, who for many is little more than a one-note background character, and makes you care about him as much as you do Batman. Gordon becomes Gotham's first non-corrupt officer, fighting his own colleagues (literally and figuratively) to uphold the law and become better than the criminals they chase, while his wife is pregnant with James Jr. (see Batman: The Black Mirror for what happened to James Jr. when he grew up) and the stresses of the job leading to him make some bad decisions.

    We also meet Selina Kyle for the first time, working as a dominatrix in Gotham's red light district, as she decides to become her own costumed character, Catwoman, after first seeing Batman. Mazzuchelli's art in this book is flawless but my one criticism of the book is Catwoman's outfit - I hate the whiskers and tail! What use are either to a cat burglar? And it just looks stupid.

    Anyway, Year One is a must-read for all Batman fans - as if you didn't already know! Everyone who has even a cursory knowledge of Batman comics knows Year One is one of the first to read. And it is - but it's also one to re-read and come back to again and again because there are a LOT of Batman books, but few of such high quality as Year One. A great beginning for the Dark Knight and the man who would be Commissioner. Just don't read Year Two!

  • Patrick

    To me, Batman is kinda like Pizza. By which I mean that even bad pizza is still pretty good.

    But for me, the best Batman is written by Miller. Maybe it's because I like his writing style, or maybe it's because his fairly dark writing style really suits Batman.

    Or it could just be that the very first comic I read as adult was Dark Night Returns. That's the comic that made me realize that comics weren't just a bunch of silly bullshit stories for kids.

    Whatever the reason, this comic is in that fin

    To me, Batman is kinda like Pizza. By which I mean that even bad pizza is still pretty good.

    But for me, the best Batman is written by Miller. Maybe it's because I like his writing style, or maybe it's because his fairly dark writing style really suits Batman.

    Or it could just be that the very first comic I read as adult was Dark Night Returns. That's the comic that made me realize that comics weren't just a bunch of silly bullshit stories for kids.

    Whatever the reason, this comic is in that fine Frank Miller style. Showing Batman and Gordon at the beginning of their lives. Both of them making mistakes. Both of them learning about their city. Both of them paying for their mistakes....

    Yeah. If you're into Batman and you haven't read this one, you're missing out. You should try it.

  • Donovan

    One of my absolute favorite Batman comics ever. It's quiet, subtle, realistic, noir. This is probably the most accessible Batman comic ever and where new readers should start, because while The Dark Knight Returns is Batman's omega, Batman Year One is his alpha.

    David Mazzucchelli is sublime. He illustrates with pure balance: minimal while detailed, bright yet dark, bold yet subtle. His characters are incredibly emotiv

    One of my absolute favorite Batman comics ever. It's quiet, subtle, realistic, noir. This is probably the most accessible Batman comic ever and where new readers should start, because while The Dark Knight Returns is Batman's omega, Batman Year One is his alpha.

    David Mazzucchelli is sublime. He illustrates with pure balance: minimal while detailed, bright yet dark, bold yet subtle. His characters are incredibly emotive, his splash pages and large panels iconic. This wouldn't be the same, especially with Miller's illustrations, if Mazzucchelli hadn't illustrated.

    This is a stylized and expanded origin story, not a retelling, as Dennis O'Neil tells us in the introduction. Jim Gordon arrives in Gotham, while twenty-five year old Bruce Wayne returns after being abroad. Harvey Dent leads a crusade, Commissioner Loeb and Detective Flass corrupt, and Selina Kyle steals as Catwoman. There's plenty to see from a wide array of characters. Interestingly, this isn't your typical Batman versus Villains book. But rather Batman and Jim Gordon versus Gotham.

    Apart from Geoff Johns' Batman Earth One, this is one of the rare stories where Batman is an amateur. Initially without a disguise, rules or purpose. He gets hurt and shot. Soon realizing fear is the element he lacks and must instill in his enemies.

    There's one particular scene which shows Bruce in an armchair in his study in moonlight, with a bat breaking through the window. Essentially the pivotal scene where he decides to become Batman. I've seen this in several other comics, including Snyder's and Morrison's Batman runs. So it's great to know where it comes from, assuming this scene isn't referencing some other Silver or Golden Age comic I haven't yet read.

    This is legendary. It's a small book, a short story. There's no Rogue Gallery, no nuclear missiles, no huge international conspiracies. No time travel or multiverse. Just noble Batman, a hard boiled Jim Gordon, and Gotham on a rainy night.

  • Ahmed  Ejaz

    I am planning to read my favourite superheros' origin. And I have started with my absolute-favourite superhero, Batman. I knew about his origin before. But reading it was a good experience also.

    There was also an appearance of Catwoman a.k.a Selina. She didn't appear much. There was just a brief intro of how she became Catwoman. She seemed to me an anti-batman.

    Lt. Gordon was a good character. But his affair with Sarah

    I am planning to read my favourite superheros' origin. And I have started with my absolute-favourite superhero, Batman. I knew about his origin before. But reading it was a good experience also.

    There was also an appearance of Catwoman a.k.a Selina. She didn't appear much. There was just a brief intro of how she became Catwoman. She seemed to me an anti-batman.

    Lt. Gordon was a good character. But his affair with Sarah seemed pretty much a filler.

    I highly recommend this comic if you wanna know how Batman came into being. I loved this comic.

    2 December, 2017

  • Dan Schwent

    When James Gordon joined the Gotham City Police Department, he had no idea of the cesspool of corruption it was. Fortunately, there are a few good cops left in Gotham and Gotham has a fledgling protector of its own, Batman!

    I'm three decades late to the party but I'm glad I showed up. Batman: Year One has been hyped as one of the definitive Batman stories ever since it was published. Is it?

    No. It's the definitive James Gordon story and it's spectacular!

    Batman: Year One is told from the point of v

    When James Gordon joined the Gotham City Police Department, he had no idea of the cesspool of corruption it was. Fortunately, there are a few good cops left in Gotham and Gotham has a fledgling protector of its own, Batman!

    I'm three decades late to the party but I'm glad I showed up. Batman: Year One has been hyped as one of the definitive Batman stories ever since it was published. Is it?

    No. It's the definitive James Gordon story and it's spectacular!

    Batman: Year One is told from the point of view of James Gordon, the man who would later be Commissioner Gordon. This Jim Gordon isn't the buffoonish commissioner of Batman '66 either. He's a good cop and a good man, surrounded by bad cops and bad men in the worst city in America. And there's this vigilante running around in a bat suit who may or may not be Bruce Wayne, millionaire playboy who recently returned to Gotham after thirteen years abroad...

    So fucking good. David Mazzucchelli's art had to be an inspiration for the feel of

    decades later. The gloomy, Mignola-esque feel is perfect for this gritty tale. Frank Miller was yet to enter his prime and his writing was pretty crisp, although I wasn't crazy about him making Catwoman a sex worker.

    The bad guys are the worst kind, corrupt men in positions of power. I couldn't wait for Gordon and Batman to take them down. While this book was one of the ones that ushered in the era of the grim and gritty super hero, it feels authentic here and isn't grim for the sake of being grim like a lot of books that came after.

    Whole swathes of this book used in the Nolan trilogy. Much like the Nolan movies, this would have been a great comic even without Batman in it.

    Great stuff. Batman: Year's One is one book that definitely lived up to the hype and deserves its reputation. If you're only going to read one Batman comic in your entire life, you could do a lot worse than this one. Five out of five stars.

  • Melki

    I've never been much of a super hero fan. And to me, Batman will always be Adam West's campy TV show of my youth. Bap! Zammm! Kapow!

    ...there's something about beginnings that appeals to me. I like watching a guy discovering and honing his powers. I'm remembering my favorite parts of two super hero movies I was forced to sit through - Spiderman on a rooftop, trying to figure out how to get his web thingamajig to work - "Um, Shazam?" and Iron Man crashing through his grand piano. Once they've g

    I've never been much of a super hero fan. And to me, Batman will always be Adam West's campy TV show of my youth. Bap! Zammm! Kapow!

    ...there's something about beginnings that appeals to me. I like watching a guy discovering and honing his powers. I'm remembering my favorite parts of two super hero movies I was forced to sit through - Spiderman on a rooftop, trying to figure out how to get his web thingamajig to work - "Um, Shazam?" and Iron Man crashing through his grand piano. Once they've got the kinks worked out, it basically becomes a guy in a costume fighting another guy in a costume and I quickly lose interest.

    This book covers the early years of not just Batman, but Cat Woman and James "Someday He'll Be Commissioner" Gordon as well. Gotham City is a sin-infested cesspool with enough vice and corruption to keep these three in business for years to come. I might hang around for a bit, even if the sound effects are not like I remember. Glurpp! Thwack! Flrbbbbb!

  • Calista

    This was good. I see a lot that Tim Burton pulled in for the '89 Batman movie. This is also strangely centered on Gordon and his life. Usually Gordon is not a focus like here. There are some interesting and different ideas about the origin story, but I guess that is from someone who is going backwards and has seen the movies after this was written.

    The art is gritty, but not as dark as it gets. The story is sound and Batman has a realism here that the new DC comics have lost trying to make him s

    This was good. I see a lot that Tim Burton pulled in for the '89 Batman movie. This is also strangely centered on Gordon and his life. Usually Gordon is not a focus like here. There are some interesting and different ideas about the origin story, but I guess that is from someone who is going backwards and has seen the movies after this was written.

    The art is gritty, but not as dark as it gets. The story is sound and Batman has a realism here that the new DC comics have lost trying to make him so ultra dark.

    It was a good read.

  • Anne

    Meh. It was alright. It was sort of cool to see things from Gordon's perspective. I still would have liked to see a little more Bruce. I don't feel like I gained any new insight into his origins or his character. It wasn't awful, I was just hoping for more.

  • J.G. Keely

    This is one of those books that's been absorbed into the public consciousness so fully that, reading it now, it can be hard to see what was revolutionary about it. This book has come to define the way we think of Batman today and was influential on the darker, grittier cape comics of the eighties and early nineties.

    But it is also instrumental in introducing what made that period of comics so ridiculous. It's been praised for its gritty realism, but like any Miller book, it's more sensationlist t

    This is one of those books that's been absorbed into the public consciousness so fully that, reading it now, it can be hard to see what was revolutionary about it. This book has come to define the way we think of Batman today and was influential on the darker, grittier cape comics of the eighties and early nineties.

    But it is also instrumental in introducing what made that period of comics so ridiculous. It's been praised for its gritty realism, but like any Miller book, it's more sensationlist than realist: a hard-boiled patina over an idealized superhero core.

    Sure, Batman screws things up a few times in this, and seems to get shot, beaten, and burned in every attempt to stop a crime, but these are primarily to push the melodrama, not to enforce realism. We'll get a classic Miller line about a bullet's 'searing-hot flash of metal numbing my leg', but then Batman gets up, runs around, kicks through a brick wall, and at one point, takes a ski vacation to rehabilitate.

    The wounds aren't there to make Batman human, they're to make him totally manly and awesome. It's an eighties action movie where our hero gets shot in the shoulder just so he can wrap it up, grit his teeth, and take out some armed men with karate.

    But Miller's a good writer. He has a strong voice and a compelling sense of pacing, and if this story brings realism to Batman, it's in the small human moments, particularly Gordon's story, though he scraps like a Sin City tough, too, quipping to himself "it's been years since I had to take out a Green Beret".

    The way Batman takes death-defying risks every few pages isn't a sign of greater maturity or realism, it's just a switch to a different kind of ridiculous, epic melodrama. Sure, it's much more bloody and grim, but if adding blood and sex to a story was all it took to write mature, realistic stories, film critics would spend their careers analyzing slasher movies.

    Of course, it wouldn't be a Frank Miller story without whores, which is where we get to his rewrite of Catwoman: she's a leather-clad prostitute with a child prostitute sidekick. She doesn't have as much character as the men, in fact Gordon's monologues run right over her scenes, denying us insight.

    But even with the mandatory prostitutes and Die Hard injuries, it's a fun book, with character and story and some well-crafted dialogue. More than that, it's a vision of how to create male fantasies without catering to preteen boys. It forms a part of that influential, genre-shifting period defined by 'Wathcmen' and it stands as an integral part of the modern Batman character.

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