My Readers: “Where have you been?”
Me: “Family issues.”
Right, now that that’s out of the way, time to get to business. Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and art by David Mazzucchelli. Just say that to any comic fan and you’ll hear nothing but praise for it. Hell, it’s even considered to be the definite Batman origin story. I’ve had the comic collecting dust on my shelf for a year now and recently said, “right, time to read this.” After reading it, my thoughts can be summed up as, “really? This is a classic?”
So the story is about Commissioner Gordon, who was Lieutenant when this comic took place, just arrive in Gotham City and is trying to do everything to prove himself. His big chance comes when a vigilante dressed as a bat comes along and the city is starting to sing Gordon’s praises.
Notice how I barely touched on Batman? That’s because he’s a second fiddle character here. Yeah, a comic called BATMAN: YEAR ONE, the majority of the focus is on Gordon. It’s like those Star Wars novels where they have a character from one of the movies displayed prominently on the cover and when you read the book they’re only in it for, like, ten pages and the rest of the book is some new character that 9/10 dies at the end.
Oh, and Catwoman is in this comic. I can’t tell you why she’s in it because she really serves no purpose at all.
As for the story itself, it’s nothing special. It’s just a cop trying to be a good cop taking place in the DCU. The biggest problem is the pacing is all over the place. It’s either too fast or too slow. Not to mention Miller’s penchant for having his characters narrate. If this was a gritty noir story that’d be fine because that’s the genre. In a Batman comic, it feels off.
Another thing is the events that unfold just aren’t that interesting or are resolved too easily. I felt like skimming most of the story I was falling asleep.
The art is fine..for its time. While, yes, when this comic came out the art was brilliant because there wasn’t anything like it at the time. Then every DC comic started looking like that and it got old. If anything, the art makes this comic look dated. It’s not terrible, the Batman outfit looks nice, but it’s just not that interesting to look at.
In all, yeah, Batman: Year One may have pioneered the Batman mythos back in the day, but so much has been written about Batman and a ton of origin stories written that this feels like a relic from a dark past. The story isn’t that great, Batman isn’t the star, and it’s not paced well. Just play Batman: Arkham Origin if you want a better Batman origin story.