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Batman: Year One: 10/20/10
I have a wishlist that stands at just shy of 500 books. These aren't books I want to own, just read. Since obviously the book fairies aren't going to drop books in my lap, I need to seek them out and actually get them read. Odd ball that I am, I'm working my way from the first books on my list through the last.
One of those earliest books was Batman: Year One by Frank Miller. Although I grew up enjoying the various TV and to a lesser degree film versions of Batman I never really got into the comics even after they were republished as graphic novels. It's not that I was anti comic as a child, there just weren't any comic book stores in walking distance of where I lived. So I didn't hear about Batman: Year One until after the film Batman Begins which was inspired by Miller's work.
Everyone who's heard of Batman knows the basic's of his origin story. Batman: Year One looks at the early days of Batman's vigilante work. More so than just a rehash of how he develops his gear and so forth, it asks the question: how did the Gotham police force come to work so closely with him. A better title than Batman: Year One would be Gordon: Year One as it follows James Gordon's transformation from overworked beat cop into someone who would some day be Commissioner.
That said, I enjoyed the story but found the artwork sometimes trying too hard to be edgy. Although it didn't annoy me as much as the Robin Hood artwork did, there's a heavy emphasis on monotone palettes: browns and other muted colors for the drabness of Gordon's life and the darker, more saturated blues, purples and reds for Batman's scenes. It works but sometimes it gets to be a bit much. There aren't enough moments to pause and catch a breadth. Without those moments, the action begins to lose its meaning.
Comment #1: Tuesday, October, 26, 2010 at 14:17:41
When you have time, check out the (semi) sequels: The Long Halloween and Dark Victory. Better writing, better art, better Batman I think. Also, Jeph Loeb writing rather than Frank Miller, which makes me a happier camper.
(Miller is up and down, brilliant moments but largely overrated, IMHO.)
Comment #2: Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 21:27:41
Thank you for the recommended titles. I have added them to my wishlist.