Written by Frank Miller, Illustrated by David Mazzucchelli
That’s pretty much it with the main characters, really. I mean, there are quite a few, but I wouldn’t qualify them as main characters. I would have billed a villain, had there really been one.
Continuing on my run of DC reviews leading into Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (listed on the left), comes one of the most popular graphic novels of all time: Batman: Year One.
Written by arguably the most acclaimed comic book writer in the world, Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil: Born Again), this book re-tells the origin story of The Batman. That though, is only half the book, as another major plot is the origin of the Jim Gordan we know. Essentially, subtly, it’s a story of how the two became allies.
Firstly, this being a graphic novel, I need to talk about the illustration by David Mazzucchelli. It’s beautiful. Considering this was the 80’s, around the time that Marvel brought out their run of Secret Wars issues (which look mediocre at best in terms of artistry), this book looks spectacular. The colours, the details, it’s all magnificently done.
Now, there isn’t a major story in this book, to be honest. It’s really telling something we already know, but in a re-done technique. One could argue that Gordan’s side of the book does have a story to it, but there really isn’t anything major for Wayne’s. I feel like this does benefit the book, because it didn’t have to lose its focus from what it was trying to be.
However, I will add that there’s a little story arc with Jim Gordan, which I actually was really into, that sort of turns out to be pointless. Nothing happens from it. It just… Stops. There aren’t really any consequences.
The ending though, that brings Gordan and Batman together, was brilliant. The stakes, though not on a huge scale, were really high, and the way it all wraps up is well done.
Overall, Batman: Year One is acclaimed rightfully, though I wouldn’t be putting it on a pedestal as high as, say, The Killing Joke. That would mostly be because of the story element I mentioned earlier that ended up nowhere. But that doesn’t mean in any way that it’s bad. In fact, I would call it great.
On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:
Batman: Year One: MIHIR