Batman: Year One by Frank Miller

#103 in my 2005 book challenge was Batman: Year One, two steps back from where I started, which was to read the Loeb/Sale collaboration Catwoman: When in Rome. The Catwoman story takes place after Batman: The Long Halloween, which in turn is rooted in some of the ancillary characters from Miller’s seminal Year One. So re-reading Year One was where I began, and was reminded of why it’s not only one of my favorite Batman stories, but one of my favorite graphic novels. It’s not really about Batman; this is Jim Gordon’s story. Both the art by David Mazuchelli and story by Miller are spare and impressionistic, yet so evocative that the book feels rich and complete. Batman is one of the most intriguing, complex superheroes because he is “merely” human. Year One shows the messy humanity of Batman, Catwoman, and the very fallible Gordon. It doesn’t involve a single supervillain, only corrupt civilians. The mood of this book was evident in last year’s successful film, Batman Begins, which many assumed, incorrectly, was adapted from Year One.

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