Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Batman: Year 1 by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli (DC Comics)

Perhaps the reason I'm so fascinated by Batman is that there are so many different 'takes' on the character that attempt to revive what it must've felt like to encounter Bob Kane and Bill Finger's character for the first time.

Back in the mid 80s, DC wanted to update their catalogue of superhero titles which had descended into stale samey stories with seemingly no direction or vision. Most writers tasked with re-inventing DC's other mainstays like Superman and Wonder Woman took cues from movies and TV but Frank Miller drew on something entirely different. The seething criminal underbelly of the US at the time, and the complete departure from Batman's fairly campy trademark shenanigans towards something entirely dark and malevolent.

"The Dark Knight Returns" (a huge favourite of mine) dealt with Batman's later years, as he struggles to maintain law and order in a city that has no moral boundaries, is ruled by gangs and has no sense of honour or respect amongst the various villains who cross the Dark Knight's path. Here though in "Batman: Year One" we return to Batman's well-trodden origin story to show Batman's evolution from vigilante to the ultimate symbol of justice.

We also get to learn Jim Gordon's origins (and if you're currently watching "Gotham" on Netflix, you'll definitely see seeds of Miller and Mazzuchelli's work dotted throughout that fine series) - and explore more of Batman's world as we begin to see Gotham as a city where the rot sets in from two directions, up from the streets and down from the GCPD and the justice system which is corrupt and powerless to stop various factions carving up Gotham like a christmas turkey.

Batman does take a bit of a back seat as "Year One" gets up to speed, and though it lacks the immediacy and some might say the 'completeness' of The Dark Knight Returns, it definitely instigated a huge revival of interest in the character before Tim Burton's movies came along and underpinned the comic's dark tones with cinematic gothic tones of its own.

Now it's almost impossible to imagine Batman being anything other than grim and gritty. "Year 1" is an absolutely essential part of your Bat-collection though.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Batman: Year 1 by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli (DC Comics)

Perhaps the reason I'm so fascinated by Batman is that there are so many different 'takes' on the character that attempt to revive what it must've felt like to encounter Bob Kane and Bill Finger's character for the first time.

Back in the mid 80s, DC wanted to update their catalogue of superhero titles which had descended into stale samey stories with seemingly no direction or vision. Most writers tasked with re-inventing DC's other mainstays like Superman and Wonder Woman took cues from movies and TV but Frank Miller drew on something entirely different. The seething criminal underbelly of the US at the time, and the complete departure from Batman's fairly campy trademark shenanigans towards something entirely dark and malevolent.

"The Dark Knight Returns" (a huge favourite of mine) dealt with Batman's later years, as he struggles to maintain law and order in a city that has no moral boundaries, is ruled by gangs and has no sense of honour or respect amongst the various villains who cross the Dark Knight's path. Here though in "Batman: Year One" we return to Batman's well-trodden origin story to show Batman's evolution from vigilante to the ultimate symbol of justice.

We also get to learn Jim Gordon's origins (and if you're currently watching "Gotham" on Netflix, you'll definitely see seeds of Miller and Mazzuchelli's work dotted throughout that fine series) - and explore more of Batman's world as we begin to see Gotham as a city where the rot sets in from two directions, up from the streets and down from the GCPD and the justice system which is corrupt and powerless to stop various factions carving up Gotham like a christmas turkey.

Batman does take a bit of a back seat as "Year One" gets up to speed, and though it lacks the immediacy and some might say the 'completeness' of The Dark Knight Returns, it definitely instigated a huge revival of interest in the character before Tim Burton's movies came along and underpinned the comic's dark tones with cinematic gothic tones of its own.

Now it's almost impossible to imagine Batman being anything other than grim and gritty. "Year 1" is an absolutely essential part of your Bat-collection though.

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