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Batman: Year One was published from February to May of 1987 and ran through issues #404-407 of the regular Batman comic book series. In 1985, DC Comics sought to streamline a shared continuity which had become bogged down by over sixty years worth of stories. This ambitious initiative culminated in a company wide "cosmic reboot" which took place in the twelve issue maxi series Crisis on Infinite Earths. As such, many of DC’s more infamous characters were provided with new, updated origins – Batman included.

Written by Frank Miller with artwork by Dave Mazzucchelli, Batman: Year One takes place approximately ten to twelve years in the past. The story is revealed from the perspective of young Lt. James Gordon, and begins on the night that he first arrives in Gotham City. It introduces several key characters including Detective Sarah Essen, who will later return to continuity as Gordon's second wife and future commissioner of Gotham City. It also introduces Carmine "The Roman" Falcone, Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb, and Detective Arnold John Flass – all of whom will become key characters in follow up storylines such as Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: Dark Victory. A modernized version of Catwoman is likewise introduced, revealing that prior to becoming a cat burglar and nemesis to the Batman she was a prostitute working in Gotham’s East End. The details surrounding Catwoman’s early years are expanded upon in greater detail in the 1989 Catwoman limited series.

The origin of Batman remains true to the original vision first described by writer Bill Finger and artist Bob Kane. It briefly recaps the events which led to the deaths of his parents Thomas and Martha Wayne, while adding a psychological imbalance to the character that had not existed in previous origin stories. Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler Alfred Pennyworth is likewise re-introduced, however the character is shown to be more acerbic and sarcastic in demeanor than longtime readers may remember – a trait that has been maintained in both comics and external media throughout the years.

The popularity of Frank Miller's work inspired other creators to expand upon the Year One concept. Two in-series stories were published aptly titled Batman: Year Two and Batman: Year Three. Robin and Batgirl have both had their own Year One limited series, and Nightwing had a six-issue Year One story within his own title. In 1995, all of the DC Comics Annuals for that year featured a singular Year One story. Between Batman, Robin and Catwoman, six Year One annuals were published between them. Other projects have been helmed which helped to flesh out the story of Batman's early years including Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Batman: The Man Who Laughs, Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: Dark Victory.

The 2005 feature film Batman Begins borrowed many elements from Frank Miller's Year One story including characters such as Commissioner Loeb and Detective Flass.
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Details

Editor:  Dennis O'Neil
Author:  Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli
Genre:  Superheroes, Comics & Graphic Novels, Batman
Publisher:  DC
Date Published:  February - May, 1987
ISBN:  0930289331
Format:  Graphic novel
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Quick Tip by . October 10, 2011
Caption
During the 1980s there was a real attempt in the comic book industry to cater to the interests, maturity, and cynicism of adults rather than to the naivete, innocence, and adventurous spirit of children. Many classic comic book superheroes were resurrected into the world of the '80s and given very grim contemporary story lines to make them more realistic and compelling. Perhaps one of the most compelling of these story lines is that written by Frank Miller. In the late '70s and into the …
review by . 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 …
review by . September 12, 2002
After deconstructing Batman in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and changing the way comics are written in the process, Frank Miller tackled the history of Batman by examining Bruce Wayne's first year as Batman in BATMAN: YEAR ONE. Personally, I enjoyed this novel much more than DKR. Gotham is a gritty place, full of corruption and slime. However, it is redeemable. Lieutenant Gordan (not yet the commissioner) and the new vigillante Batman illustrate that through the work they accomplish. However, though …
review by . April 25, 2002
Another example of a great comic book that definately isn't for kids.After the success of DARK KNIGHT we saw the sequel BATMAN YEAR ONE. I remember this one flying off the shelves at the comic store when the issues came out.We see a two new arrivals in Gotham. One a police lieutenant with a bit of a past who finds corruption rampart in the force and a fellow officer who he falls for creating corruption in his marriage.We also find a rich playboy who thinks he is ready to begin his revenge on the …
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