Last week, I decided to order a few graphic novels online, and, supposedly being the best Batman comic ever written, Batman: Year One was at the top of my list, along with The Long Halloween and The Killing Joke (don’t worry; The Dark Knight Returns is also on my list!). They all arrived in the mail today, and Year One was the first I read.
Holy awesome, Batman! I’ve only read a few comics in my day, and none of them were Batman; this blew them all out of the water. Though I really enjoyed the artwork, it was the story that really amazed me. It was well-written and did something that I didn’t expect from a Batman comic: it focused more on Jim Gordon than Batman. You see, the “Year One” in the title refers not only to Bruce Wayne’s first year in the suit but Jim Gordon’s first year on the Gotham police force as well, and he’s really the focus of the story.
It’s quite clear to see that Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer’s screenplay for Batman Begins drew heavily from this graphic novel, borrowing elements like Batman’s reason to dress like a bat, the inner corruption of the Gotham PD, and other like elements. Lieutenant Fox (as he is at this point in time) is tough and well-liked by the community but not by his co-workers, adding on stress to an already stressful job. We see the effect of the death of Batman’s parents in his childhood and how it affects him as an adult, and we see that, even early on, Batman does whatever he can to stop crime without killing.
The emphasis of the story is summed up at the start of one of the chapters, when it refers to Gotham as a city that “likes being dirty”, and it’s the job of Gordon, a clean cop in a dirty PD, and Batman, a caped crusader who instills fear in the criminals of Gotham, to wipe out crime and make the city a place that no longer needs a Batman.
The art is fantastic, the story is grounded and real, and it is the definitive origin story of Gotham’s Dark Knight. This is a great place for anyone to get started in Batman comics.
Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)