Batman Year One is a riveting origin piece by Frank Miller. It is not just Batman who makes an appearance in the squalid Gotham city but Lieutenant James Gordon with his pregnant wife Barbara also attempts a fresh start.
The story is told from both Gordon and Bruce’s perspective. In the first issue both men take account of the sordid unsavory reputation of the police department, corrupt and rotten to the core, with no regard to human lives. Both Gordon and Bruce will learn from their mistakes. Gordon, the man who is thought to be incorruptible will fall from better judgment into a salacious scandal and Bruce would repeatedly get stabbed and shot in the beginning.
The issue highlights the struggle of Bruce Wayne as he searches for a way to fulfill his destiny. Fighting crime is not enough as he must find a way to instill fear in the hearts of criminals.
In this series you get to see James Gordon in a lot of action, and not just some ingenious detective work but hard boiled baseball-bat-on-the-shoulder action. Surprisingly, for me, James Gordon is the man who steals the show. Fighting his way through punches, his verbal remarks polished with a subtle crudeness makes a marked resemblance with Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade.
The comic is a piece of artistic marvel; expressive with an uncanny attention to detail. David Mazzucchelli has done a remarkable job illustrating the Gotham city from its filthy streets to the opulent window panes of sky high buildings.
The issue also introduces catwoman and briefly Harvey Dent. The comic work with timelines that keep readers abreast with the time lapsed from one scene to another. The story is not extraordinary but still interesting. Witty at times, the comic with its brilliant sketches, attractive scenes and crisp dialogues makes an addictive read.
Author: Frank Miller
Illustrator: David Mazzucchelli
Link: Batman: Year One