Arguably one of the most essential Batman story in the comic world, Batman: Year One is a must-read. Fan of the dark knight or not, this story arc collecting all four comic issues (#404 to 407 published in 1987) from the comic series Batman tells the tale of Batman’s first attempt at wearing the dark cowl and cape. In fact, this trade paperback gives the readers the chance to live Gotham City through the eyes of Bruce Wayne (almost known as the man behind vigilante Batman) and James Gordon (Gotham City’s Police Department’s detective) as they seek their first baby steps in this city of corruption and evil.
Personally, I was astonished by the artwork that got me engaged and hooked into the story line (big kudos to David Mazzucchelli’s and Richmond Lewis’s talents). With just a basic color pallet and an artwork typical of newspaper comics, this piece of art sustains greatness throughout all four issues. I’d have to say that the transitions between panels (from one scene to another) were brilliantly done on both an artistic and a storytelling level. SPOILER HERE: Hover over text to read.
Batman: Year One is gold. It’s mind-baffling-awesomeness does not end there. I’d have to add that the story itself is as fine as wine and only gets better every re-reads. As godlike as Batman is portrayed in our modern society, this story arc shows you just why you always want a Batman in your neighborhood. Bruce Wayne doesn’t go through this adventure as the world’s greatest detective with no flaws. He has to learn the ropes and actually fails multiple times to Gotham’s wrath. He has to climb the ladders and find a way to show everyone he isn’t a villain among the criminals that inhabit the city. He might eat a bullet and still manage to kick down a wall, but even those moments seem completely realistic to the reader’s eyes. And that’s why Frank Miller’s work is praised so much. Although Batman might seem like the center of attention, James Gordon gets just as much attention or, might I add, even more throughout the story arc. In fact, Gordon arrives in Gotham City and has to climb his way to the top just as much as Batman has to, in order to survive and help his city. As a man who respects the law and follows a path exempt of corruption, Gordon has to face his partner detective Flass as well as commissioner Loeb who both take a much more particular path when it comes to justice… a more criminal touch to things. In the end, both Bruce Wayne and James Gordon fight the evil in Gotham, meet their first failures in their attempt to help and learn from their mistakes with open arms. After all, their journey only just begun.
If there was a common beginning to every comic reader’s legacy, I’d have to say that Batman: Year One is a beautiful place to start at. This flawless masterpiece (at least to my eyes) has one of the most interesting story line, a beautiful narration, an amazing artwork and a captivating and remarkable superhero to follow till the end of time. What are you waiting for? Go give Year One a try! You can buy yourself a copy of Batman: Year One by clicking on this hyperlink.
My overall rating: ★★★★★/