Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Frank Miller's Batman: Year One. Do not read this unless you've read this graphic novel or have watched the animated film. Or unless you are bored, and want a good Batman story.
"Ladies. Gentlemen. You have eaten well. You've eaten Gotham's wealth. Its spirit. Your feast is nearly over. From this moment on, none of you are safe."
Have you ever wondered what Bruce Wayne's first year as the Batman was like? (Well, I guess you could just watch all of the Batman movies and cartoons.) Frank Miller, writer of The Dark Knight Returns, gives us an alternative look at Batman's first year of crime fighting. Thus titled, Batman: Year One. But the thing is: it's not just about Batman's origin. It's also about Detective James Gordon. And finally, it deals with Selina Kyle A.K.A, Catwoman. Let's dive in!
In Bruce's story arch, we find him returning to Gotham City for the first time in years. He traveled abroad soul searching in mourning his late parents. He attempts to fight crime as a man, but fails miserably to get his point across. One night in Wayne Manor while bleeding to death, he asks for a sign. Thus a bat crashes through the window, giving Bruce Wayne his inspiration. Donning the famous cape and cowl, Bruce fights off gang wars as Batman. But Batman isn't alone. He forms an unlikely alliance then friendship with Detective Jim Gordon.
In Jim Gordon's story arch, he moves into Gotham City with his pregnant wife Barbara. Jim is welcomed into the Gotham City Police Department by shady Detective Flass. All is not well with the G.C.P.D. The whole department is run by the corrupt Commissioner Loeb. Given the task of figuring out who the Batman is, Gordon faces another demon: Infidelity. Jim Gordon falls into having an affair with his coworker, Detective Sarah Essen. But that's not all! Commissioner Loeb hires a hitman (Detective Flass) to snuff out Jim's wife and newborn son. Fortunately, Batman rescues them just in time, to form a friendship with Gordon.
Unfortunately, nothing is really explained enough about Selina Kyle, A.K.A Catwoman. She's just there. Catwoman doesn't really have anything interesting going on to talk about. She's just a petty jewel thief with an unhealthy obsession with cats! (No offense to Catwoman enthusiasts! I just don't really like her, and I always thought she was annoying.) That's pretty much it when it comes to Catwoman.
The animated adaptation of Batman: Year One is really cool. The main reason is because Batman is voiced by none other than Gotham's Ben Mckenzie!! I got so excited when i found this out while watching it! I got chills when I heard him say, "None of you are safe." And Bryan Cranston provides the vocals for Jim Gordon. He was spectacular in the movie as well. I know that J.K. Simmons was chosen to be Commissioner Gordon in the DC Cinematic Universe, but I honestly think it'd be awesome if Bryan Cranston got the role. (This is not to say that I'm not happy that J.K. Simmons is Commissioner Gordon. I think he's going to be interesting!) If you buy a special hardcover copy of Batman: Year One, you'll find that it comes with the movie on Blu-Ray and DVD.
I'd say that the most interesting thing of Batman: Year One is that it seems to place a bigger focal point on Jim Gordon other than Batman. The only change Bruce actually goes through is at the end of the first chapter when he becomes Batman. Jim is the one who actually goes through the most character development. I think it's pretty clever for Frank Miller to pull a bait and switch on his readers!
All in all, I immensely enjoyed reading and watching Batman: Year One. And I highly recommend it to all Batman enthusiasts! B+