Saturday, 13 December 2014

Batman: Year One - Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli


Title: Batman: Year One
Author: Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli
Genre: Fantasy (Superhero)
Published: 1987
Formats: Hardback/Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
Amazon
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

Review:
I picked up “Batman: Year One” by Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli in order to meet the graphic novel requirement of the 2014 Eclectic Reader Challenge. I will admit that I don’t normally read graphic novels however as a fan of superhero films etc. I have constantly heard of “Batman: Year One” as being the real basis for how we view Batman nowadays. Therefore I decided that this book would be the one I read to complete this element of the challenge.

The novel chronicles both the emergence of Batman and the rise of Jim Gordon through the ranks of law enforcement. The whole thing is very melodramatic and it feels like an 80’s action movie as our hero gets shot, beaten up and hurt in various ways but fights through the pain to get things done. Batman in this novel is a “real man” who goes out and gets thing done then goes on a skiing holiday to recuperate.

It is also definitely aimed at mature audience and it is not something for a young child to read. Miller is more than happy to show us the underbelly of Gotham with violence and prostitution being brought to the fore. However, I found this was undermined a bit by the rather dated 80’s styled images which did tend to undo any grittiness that the story was trying to portray.

In regards to the characters, I actually found Batman to be rather uninteresting to be honest, yes his weaknesses and inexperience showed him to be human but he feels very one dimensional. It is actually Gordon who comes across as a multifaceted character and draws you into the story. He is a good cop trying to do his job in the face of corruption in the police and the city itself. His attempts to maintain his integrity in the fact of vast challenges endears him to the reader.

Overall, I did find this to be an enjoyable novel even if Batman himself was rather uninspiring. It was also interesting to follow the story which actually created the modern Batman genesis mythos.