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on May 11, 2005
Batman is a character I've always enjoyed, but I've only recently started getting into the Batman comics. After reading Frank Miller's exceptional "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" graphic novel, I really wanted to acquire more Batman comics that depicted the characters in a similar manner: as deep, well-thought-out characters that you really feel emotionally attached to by the end of the story. The problem was that, being new to comics, I was tossed into a sea of nearly endless Batman comics, and I didn't really know where to begin.

Well, where better to start than at the very beginning?

Batman: Year One is the story of Batman's first year in Gotham City after returning from training abroad, making it the perfect book for someone unfamiliar with Batman's origins, or just looking for a fresh take on the classic story. But the book is as much about the origins of Jim Gordon, who will later become the famed police commissioner of Gotham City, as it is about Batman's beginning. The story hinges on Gordon's attempts to clean up a police force that is corrupt to its very core, and his encounters with the Batman that finally lead up to a climactic confrontation that brings both men together in their fight against crime.

Firse of all, the packaging and presentation of the story is top-notch. The book is hard bound and comes with a very nice partial sleeve that makes it look very classy. The cover itself depicts a simple black and white drawing of Batman that is quite effective for portraying what the book is about. Each chapter of the story opens with the origin comic book cover from each issue, and they are very vivid and clean. There are many extras, from an amusing illustrated afterword by the artist, David Mazzuccelli, and many pages of preliminary and promotional artwork. In the end, I felt that some of these features could have probably been dropped in favor of a slightly lower price tag, but they are nice additions that give the book a more "deluxe edition" feel.

The artwork in the story is very good. I really like David Mazzuccelli's style. He's really not entirely different from Miller himself in that his artwork isn't terribly elaborate, but is supremely effective in telling a story. Mazzuccelli really has a strength when it comes to facial expressions. You can really see how the characters feel by the looks on their faces, particularly in the more emotional spots of the book. The backgrounds and characters are beautiful, though, and the colors are very nice and vivid. The artwork brilliantly aids in telling the dark story of Batman's birth and Gordon's struggles.

The storyline is nothing short of superb as well. I've held Frank Miller in high regard ever since reading "The Dark Knight Returns", and this book is written in a very similar style. You can tell that Miller really likes using internal monologues to convey the thoughts and feelings of the characters, and they are very effective and give the story a depth that other comics don't have. The story progresses logically and is very readable. It's a great retelling of the familiar story of Batman's beginning infused with an almost literary style.

Miller is an expert at characterization. I was amazed at how much depth and likeability he could give even minor characters. A character that I found myself sympathizing with and surprisingly liking is Gordon's wife Barbara. With only powerful artwork and a few lines, I felt that she was portrayed very powerfully and believably, making her a great character that further enhances the personality and depth of Gordon. You can tell that Miller really likes Jim Gordon, as he is given more characterization than anyone else in the story. I really felt connected to the character by the end of the story, because he is so remarkably human, and not totally unlike myself. He makes mistakes, but he is in the end a good person, and I think this is what makes him so appealing, perhaps even more than Batman himself. This is not to say that the characterization of Batman is lacking in the story; quite the contrary, in fact. Bruce Wayne is also portrayed as a man who has his fair share of problems that he is trying to overcome in his never-ending fight to purge Gotham of corruption. The deep characterizations are what really make this book shine.

The only gripe I have with the storyline and characterizations is a subplot involving Catwoman in the story. While she is brilliantly portrayed, I ended up feeling as if her role in the story didn't have much meaning other than to set her up as a potential romantic interest of Batman in the future as well as a recognized rogue and thief. But her actions have relatively little bearing on where the story goes. The subplot is still enjoyable, and in the end it doesn't detract from the overall greatness of the storyline.

Some may be disappointed by the utter lack of classic Batman villains in the story. There is no Joker, no Two-Face, no Riddler, no Scarecrow, no one. Instead, Batman fights criminals that don't seem very different from the ones we find in real life. He is combating thugs and the corruption at the heart of the Gotham City: the politicians and police officers that are on the take and are part of the problem instead of the solution. I felt this gave the comic more credibility, but some will undoubtedly be disappointed that Batman isn't fighting one of his famous and colorful enemies. In fact, the only mention of one such villain in the entire book is in the very last panel on the very last page of the very last chapter.

The only major problem I have with the overall graphic novel is that it is short. The story itself is only around ninety pages. But they are a great ninety pages, and you won't be disappointed with them. But you will be left wishing that the story wouldn't end, making the length of the story the comic's greatest shortcoming.

This graphic novel is definitely a must-have for Batman fanatics, and I would heartily recommend it to people who are new to the world of Batman. After all, what better way is there to get into the world of the Dark Knight than by reading the story of where it all began?
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on March 3, 2016
The comics themselves are a 10/10 - just perfect, but the edition is terrible.

Mr. Mazzuchelli himself said (about this "Deluxe" 2012 edition): And now David Mazzucchelli has entered the fray talking about next week’s deluxe edition reprint of Batman: Year One to the Comics Journal;

"DC just sent me this book last week, and I really hope people don’t buy it. I didn’t even know they were making it, and I don’t understand why they thought it was necessary — several years ago, DC asked me if I’d help put together a deluxe edition ofBatman: Year One, and Dale Crain and I worked for months to try to make a definitive version. Now whoever’s in charge has thrown all that work in the garbage. First, they redesigned the cover, and recolored my artwork — probably to look more like their little DVD that came out last year; second, they printed the book on shiny paper, which was never a part of the original design, all the way back to the first hardcover in 1988; third — and worst — they printed the color from corrupted, out-of-focus digital files, completely obscuring all of Richmond’s hand-painted work. Anybody who’s already paid for this should send it back to DC and demand a refund."
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on January 20, 2000
It is a shame that, Tim Burton's excellent two outings notwithstanding, the Batman of film and television is the one that is most solidly rooted in the collective psyche of the public. What many current readers may not remember, however, is that the campiness of the 1966-68 TV show was reflected in, and fed off the Batman titles at the time.
All of that changed when Dennis O'Neil took over the writing chores and returned the character to the dark roots laid out by the late, great, Bob Kane and Bill Finger. Dennis O'Neil brought Batman comics into and through puberty. Frank Miller brought them into adulthood.
Along with the brilliant "Dark Knight Returns," "Year One" bookends the saga of Bruce Wayne by re-interpreting and sometimes redefining the character's roots. In so doing, Frank Miller laid the foundation for the character that today populates the monthly titles. Although not as grim as "Dark Knight," "Year One" nonetheless hits closer to home and is, in my opinion, the best introduction to the character for anyone unfamiliar with it outside of film and TV.
The parallel struggles of Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon to "clean up a city that likes being dirty" are brilliantly rendered by Miller, possibly the finest comics writer EVER. Miller's Jim Gordon is a far cry from the incompetent beat cop shown in movies and TV. He is a passionate, crusading man, the sort of cop Bruce Wayne might have been in another reality.
Opinions have always been strong one way or the other about the art in "Year One." For my money, you couldn't ask for more. Mazzucchelli's pencils work wonders even beyond what he did in "Daredevil: Born Again," and the coloring is particularly striking in its subtlety, even more so when you consider the "beat you over the head" standards of late-'80s comics.
All in all, this is the definitive Batman origin story. That Miller, Mazzucchelli and Lewis also manage to turn it into one of the finest Batman stories ever told is evidenced by the lasting impact it had on all subsequent interpretations of the characters involved. An all-around winner.
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Following up on his 1986 renovation of the Batman myth with "The Dark Knight Returns", Frank Miller teamed with David Mazzucchelli to produce "Batman: Year One", a novel retelling of how Bruce Wayne came to don tights to fight crime.
Miller's Gotham City is a corrupt and festering cesspool, much as he would later depict in his Sin City series. Two good men come to town to clean things up: Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon, a new detective on the Gotham police force fresh from his role in cleaning up another police department.
Wayne himself has returned to his hometown after a long absence, during which he trained himself to become a vigilante. Wayne's first foray into crimefighting nearly ends in disaster, but leads him ultimately to adopt the Batman motif to frighten criminals. Gordon becomes his unlikely ally as he strives to clean up Gotham's police department.
The writing remains more mature and gritty than the typical comic book fare of the time. Batman is not the invincible denizen of the dark we've come to know and love, but an awkward guy in a goofy costume who seems always to be within an inch of death. Gordon is no paragon of virtue either; the main subplot deals with his affair with another cop while his wife waits to give birth to his son.
The result is a gripping, gritty, and ultimately redeeming tale which once again reinvents the familiar figure of the Batman.
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on March 21, 2012
I sold my old copy in order to get this one. I wasn't sure to get it though. After all the price went up and the number of pages was the same.

Anyway, I pre-order the book and the release date was near. Then I read a piece in which Dave Mazzucchelli (original artist of the book) said that all the work he completed for DC Comics in preparation for the release of the deluxe edition was, quote, "tossed in the garbage" by DC's editorial.

Here's he's original statement:

"Several years ago, DC asked me if I'd help put together a deluxe edition of Batman: Year One, and Dale Crain and I worked for MONTHS to try to make a definitive version. Now whoever's in charge has thrown all that work in the garbage.

First, they redesigned the cover, and recolored my artwork - probably to look more like their little DVD that came out last year; second, they printed the book on shiny paper, which was never a part of the original design, all the way back to the first hardcover in 1988; third - and worst - they printed the color from corrupted, out-of-focus digital files, completely obscuring all of Richmond's hand-painted work. Anybody who's already paid for this should send it back to DC and demand a refund".

Not sure about you, but when a publisher throws aside the work of an original creator then something must be wrong with that publisher.

This little "mistake" or whatever they want to call sums to the rest of stuff on DC's collected editions such as: Awful binding in their big books, the lack of shrink-wrap on the hardcovers, omision of word ballons in Absolute Kingdom Come, lack of content in books like DC Universe by Alan Moore.

Terrible...
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on May 10, 2005
When this miniseries first came out back in the eighties it left everyone breathless. David Mazzucchelli's art is some of the finest I've ever seen. It moves like a motion picture yet every still is ready to be framed (nice homage to the famous Hopper painting on the side: Gorden and Sgt. Essen having a late night coffee in a cafe called ... Hopper)

Frank Miller tells a story right from the beginning of the Batman saga. Bruce Wayne and Lieutenant Gordon discover they are both fighting on the same side to clean Gotham from the human filth. The only way to survive in the mess is as a team. They become friends.

On top of the fantastic graphic novel this book includes over 40 pages of sketches, layouts and script pages. Every Batman fan should have it, what do I say, this is one for you. Buy it. You won't be disappointed, I swear.
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on July 20, 2012
I hate how Amazon puts all of the reviews together with each other. This is a review for only the kindle version.

But that being said I still have to write a bad review for the kindle edition. I bought this because I wanted to read a graphic novel on my new nexus 7. I read most of my normal books on a kindle with the keyboard but for a Graphic novel I wanted some color. Well the book works fine except for the print is pages are too small.

Naturally I thought to be able to pinch and zoom or double tap for zoom. Well on the KINDLE Instead of the normal zoom function you get this popup window that only make parts of the dialog zoomed in. What's annoying about that is I can't see the the art work, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of reading a graphic novel.

I wish that I would have downloaded a sample so that I would've realized that the kindle's app is garbage for reading graphic novels. At least the nook app lets me zoom in on the entire page so that I can read the dialog and see the artwork while reading it. I hate nook but for graphic novels it's far superior to kindle.
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on March 12, 2001
I've been introduced to Frank Miller's 'Batman' stories namely by hype alone, and the hype is more than warranted. Miller writes 'Year One' the way Batman needs to be portrayed - gritty, dark and murky; all buzz-words that have become cliches for Millers work, and for the right reason. This is a crime story, true and simple.
Batman here is hardly the invincible super-hero steroetyped by our culture. Here he is just a man, one who's committed to the task of cleaning up Gotham City of the criminal element. He can be wounded, he can make mistakes, but he also gets the job done. The book also focuses on the young Jim Gordon, who would one day become Gotham's police commissioner and Batman's confidant. Here he's a young cop with all the failings and imperfections of a man striving to do whats right. Miller writes the dialogue with stark realism, and I felt like I was reading about true multi-dimensional characters.
With this book and his seminal 'Dark Knight Returns', Miller takes the icon of Batman out of the garish hands of the neon-lighted buffoonery of Hollywood and back into the shadowed streets where he was meant to be. Buy this book.
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on August 17, 2015
Batman: Year One is a look at Bruce Wayne's first year of being Batman. He learns the ins and outs, what works and what doesn't, and how to be more discrete. There are some familiar faces in the book - Jim Gordan (as a lieutenant), Selina Kyle (cat woman), Falcone (the mobster). The story is very well scripted and drawn. You really get a feel for how Bruce is in over his head in a lot of situations. He isn't a one man army right off the start, it takes him some practice.

The package is an absolute must have for Batman fans. You get the hardcover book, a dvd of the movie adaptation, a bluray of the movie, and digital codes for the movie and the comic. There is a lot of value in this product. Along with the main story, the book also has a look at rough layouts and Frank Miller's script pages. Very interesting to see how the comic evolves.

The movie is very well done and an extremely faithful adaptation. The movie is basically a beat for beat recreation of the book. The only differences I recalled were very minor (1. When Bruce gets picked up in East Town, he breaks his cuffs in the book while in the movie he slips them under his legs to choke the driver, 2. The drug dealer that informs on detective Flass is doing coke in the book, but in the movie he is simply counting money) Bryan Cranston was good as Gordan, but the guy who played Batman was not what I would imagine a young Bruce Wayne to sound like. Maybe I am too hung up on Kevin Conroy as Batman (who can blame me?)

Highly recommended.
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on April 18, 2014
I'm almost 40, and I'm not a comic book or graphic novel enthusiast. I don't dislike or dismiss them, I've just never been "into" them. The Dark Knight trilogy made me want more Batman stories...so I turned to a friend who is very much into comic books and graphic novels. I started with Year One.

It is very well written. I'm still getting accustomed to the way an entire story is told with a combination of words and pictures, versus a novelization of a storyline, so it's a bit weird for me to see a story progress so quickly. But I enjoyed this thoroughly. If you like Batman, especially the darker side of the story, you will enjoy this read. I can't speak to the quality of the art vs. other artists, etc...but I liked the book visually as well. Highly recommended.
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