Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Batman: Year One by Frank Miller

I think I have heard about this comic book/graphic novel ever since I first got into comic books when I was, like , 8. This one, The Killing Joke, and The Dark Knight Returns were huge when I was little and I got around to The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns when I was a kid but I just never got around to Batman: Year One for some reason. I just never found Batman's origin a must read since I had already seen the origin told a number of times already.

So, I finally decided to check it out the other day and, yeup, it was the Batman origin story once again as I had expected. True, it has some excellent writing (mostly told through voice over) and the use of a years calender to tell the story through one year is a pretty cool way to show Batman's first, and very rough, year as the caped crusader.

However, to my surprise what really made this an excellent read wasn't Batman's story at all but instead Lt. (soon to be Commissioner) Gordon's story. Miller decides to not only tell Bruce Wayne's first year as Batman but also Gordon's first year in Gotham City. The narrative is then split between both stories. On one side we get to see Batman training, building his costume, and his first night outs while on the other side we get to see Lt. Gordon begin to slowly clean up the streets of Gotham while getting in trouble for exposing the corrupt cop system that exists. Both stories are good but Lt. Gordon's is excellent in that is gives his character a history that truly enhances the bond that he will develop later on with Batman. The final moments when both stories meet are without a doubt the high points of the entire story.

However, I'm still not a fan of origin stories when I already know the origin. It's my own fault but I just cant seem to get into it so much. The only thing that truly kept me turning the pages in this case was Lt. Gordon's storyline and the eventual meet up between the two. It was also pretty cool seeing Miller throwing Harvey Dent and Catwoman into the mix without ever going "HEY! THIS IS GOING TO BE CATWOMAN!!!"

That is really all I have to say.

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