Keith's Reviews > Batman: Year One

Batman by Frank Miller
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's review
Sep 29, 08

it was ok

Okay... I guess I don't like Frank Miller much. Batman: Year One has less of the fascistic feeling that I got from the movies Sin City and The 300, but I found it sketchily put together and not well characterized. I think that Nolan's Batman Begins film effort actually did a better job covering the first forays into costumed crimefighting by our caped crusader. Perhaps were I more informed by reading a lot of Batman comics I could fill in the story better on my own. Maybe Miller was too close to the Batman story to tell it to a (relative) outsider... or maybe he just wanted to give a certain mysterious, sketchy effect and I just don't think he did it well. Lieutenant Gordan was the exception here, being a fleshed out and pretty sympathetic character (as best as can be in 70 or so pages while things are blowing up and people are whacking each other). His mysterious past is intriguing, while Bruce Wayne's criptic references to his training years abroad are just a bit maddening... also... I may have read this wrong, but it seems as though he left for his training when he was 13... possible, but unlikely I think.
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Matt I must slightly disagree with you on this. While I love Batman Begins, one of the things I wish it had done would have been showing him make more mistakes during his first attempts at fighting crime. In Batman Begins the most we get of that is when he nearly misses a jump after running from Gordon's office. Compare that to the misadventure Wayne experiences when he goes out disguised as a military veteran and confronts the pimp (and his hookers). Also of note is the first time we see him in the Batman costume surprising the burglars on the fire escape; one crook almost falls to his death and Batman takes several hits (including a television to the head). In Nolan's film, the first time we see Batman in costume, he effortlessly takes down a warehouse full of thugs. While I am hopelessly in love with that sequence, I really wish we could have seen his earlier screw-ups and near-catastrophes.

I also felt that the history of Wayne's training wasn't cryptic enough in Batman Begins. According to the comics, he went all over the world learning martial arts and techniques of detection from many, many different sources. Begins doesn't imply that he studied under anyone aside from Ra's al Ghul and the League of Shadows.

Last, but not least, I disagree that the story is "sketchily put together." Instead, I find it a superb example of economical storytelling. Not a single panel is wasted. Miller accomplishes in four issues what many comics of the time would have taken at least six issues to tell. (Modern comics would probably require twelve issues, what with today's decompressed storytelling.) While it may feel as though it skips over large portions of the story, everything vital to understanding the story is in there.

Mike Clooney I'm struck by the irony of your comparison, because without "Year One" there would BE no "Batman Begins," which is clearly based heavily on this story. Nolan expands on it, sure, but that's a given considering the growth of the Batman mythos in the 20 years separating the two. This story has to some extent defined and informed every intrepetation of Batman since 1986, including Nolan's, and should be judged in the context of the ground it broke in its own era.

Alieeeef you will not like year one very much if you are not a fan of batman

Donovan I also think it's difficult to compare a new

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