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2.7 out of 5 stars14
2.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 September 2012
This is a really confusing short Batman book. First the sub-title "Year One" - this book has nothing to do with Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli's masterpiece. Apparently it relates to the first Chris Nolan Batman movie, "Batman Begins", but doesn't really as it has nothing to do with that either. The story makes no sense whatsoever. Ra's Al-Ghul is finally dead and Batman has destroyed all of the Lazarus Pits - except one remains which means no one in Gotham can die? My understanding of the Lazarus Pits were that whoever went into them were brought back from death or near-death; the very existence of them doesn't automatically mean people thousands of miles away are affected. Yet that seems to be the baffling premise sending Batman around the world fighting Ra's henchmen.

This is as brainless a book as the zombies that appear in the story and makes no sense whatsoever as a Batman story or as a companion to any of the Nolan films. It's both poorly conceived and written and is a complete bore to read despite its short page count. For readers looking to find out more about the mysterious Ra's Al-Ghul, try "Birth of the Demon" instead and ignore this strange aberration of the Batman mythos.
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on 14 March 2013
Let's talk about Paul Gulacy, who started drawing comics at Marvel in the 1970s and, since then, has produced a substantial but curiously neglected body of high quality work. Gulacy is possibly the best comics artist too many comics fans have never heard of. His style is rooted in Steranko. He doesn't do Steranko's go-go pop art and graphic design effects, but his draughtsmanship is as far beyond Steranko as Neal Adams is beyond Ernie Bushmiller. His storytelling skills are formidable. His layouts are crisp and imaginative. He conveys moments of extreme psychological tension as well as Ditko, but in a very different way. There's also something faintly pervy about his work, but in a classy kinda way. In case it's not obvious, this guy can draw comics.

Gulacy, inked well by Jimmy Palmiotti, is the artist here. His work is absolutely splendid. If I was just reviewing the art, this would be a five-star review.

Unfortunately, the story stinks more than a dead mouse that's been stuck behind a radiator for a fortnight. It's hard to say which is the story's most dominant attribute - its tedium, its senselessness, or its incoherence. Oh, and as other reviewers have noted, the "Year One" in the book's title doesn't seem to have any bearing on the proceedings whatsoever.

The history of American mainstream comics is largely characterised by terrible stories told by means of outstanding artwork which they simply don't merit. This book is a particularly vivid and painful example of such, and should be avoided by anyone except completist Gulacy fans and hairy-handed Batman obsessives who long since lost any sense of perspective. Five star art, zero star writing.
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on 9 July 2012
Well this isn't a bad Graphic novel, just not the best by a long shot. The bonuses are a bit more of Ra's History, it's well drawn and all but the story is basically a one trick pony, With all of the Lazarus Pits destroyed people stop dying in Gotham.
Death is being slowly reversed and people are re-composing. All of the Bad guys come after Batman and we are asked the question - how much worse off would the world be if people didn't die. Sort of forcing Batman to agree that sometimes death is a good thing.
it ends predictably - i won't spoil that bit but we are left with no resolution of the guys up and walking around as zombies. you see absolutely nothing about that after Batman solves he problem.
Ok for the collection but again i'd say low on the priority list.
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on 12 July 2012
HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YEAR ONE, THIS DOES NOT FOLLOW AFTER YEAR ONE AT ALL, this tells the story of batman fighting zombies while Ra's al ghul has a angsty monologues in a flashback. Not the best batman comic ever, but if you ever wanted to see batman fight zombies i guess you might like this.
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on 14 October 2006
I picked this up kind of expecting more Ra's than i eventually got, but i like the ideas in it so much that i don't mind that, really.

Rather than a straightforward retelling of Ra's early origins, we have Batman taking on a case that leads him back to certain key moments in the life of possibly his most brilliant and deadly foe. I actually kind of like that idea; it's more ingenuitive and interesting than just copying and pasting other "year one" formats.

However, though the narrative voice (a letter written by Ra's before he died) does guide us through his philosophy and world-view very well, and is wonderfully and evocatively written, by the end of the book i felt a little short-changed on the Ra's front. We basically get two flashbacks (good ones, important ones) to Ra's past life and then the rest of the story is Bats doing what he does best. Now, that's fine, but not what i was expecting when i picked the book up, and in terms of seeing behind the scenes of Ra's personality, well, that doesn't really happen on a grand scale. We get told he's brilliant, ancient, ruthless and get a few momentary insights of this. That's fine as far as it goes, but i already knew that. I never doubted it. I would rather have found out why it was the case than just have it reiterated again.

I liked it. It's good stuff, and any batman fan will enjoy the story, i think. I did. It just might not be quite the story they were expecting, is all.
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on 2 October 2014
Great as described
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VINE VOICEon 29 November 2010
First of all, you will notice that the other reviews for this book are all for Batman Year One: Ra's Al Ghul and NOT for Batman:War Crimes!

This is the final part of the whole War Games saga, and should be read in the following order...

1/ Batman: War Drums (Batman (DC Comics Paperback))
2/ Batman: War Games - ACT 01 - Outbreak
3/ Batman War Games: ACT 2: Tides (Batman)
4/ Batman: War Games Act 3
5/ Batman: War Crimes ----THIS VOLUME!

I really enjoyed all the four preceding books to this and thought it has been one of the best Batman series for a while. This book, however is not up to the standard of the others i am afraid.

Spoiler Alert! Only Read on if you have read the previous volumes.....

The problem with this book is that it feels tacked on to the rest of the series, almost like DC knew they had a great idea and wanted to make the most of it. At the end of the main series, Stephanie Brown dies after igniting an all out chaos in Gotham, resulting in all the major gangs turning against each other - and not caring about the innocents caught up in the crossfire. Stephanie Brown had given up her vigilante career as the Spoiler, and taken up training with Batman to become the new Robin (as Tim Drake had stepped down at the insistence of his father). But when she disobeys an order from Batman she is sacked from her position and returns to her former vigilante persona. Without giving a long re-run of the rest of the plot, Stephanie dies in hospital after being tortured by the Black Mask.

This book picks up with Gotham still recovering from the events in War Games, and the media blaming Batman for everything that transpired. Meanwhile, the Black Mask is trying to rule Gotham's underworld, and that brings the Joker back to try and reclaim his position as Batmans number one enemy. Whilst this is going on, Batman is investigating Stephanie's death - he is not convinced that he is to blame for her death. He believes that he got her to the hospital in time and sets about trying to prove this.

There is a major plot twist at the end of the book which i will not spoil for you here, you will have to read this book for yourself to discover it for yourself.

That twist just doesn't sit right with me, and feels completely tacked on to me. The character who actually killed Stephanie just seems to step totally out of character to me and it is like DC have thought they will try and shock the reader. It works - it does shock you, but more because it is so badly handled. Yes, there were clues to the identity of this person throughout all the books, and their feelings on vigilantes and their methods, but even taking this into account i just didn't accept what the writers have dumped on us. What doesn't help is that this only comes out in the last few pages, and the rest is of the book is dealing with media manipulation (which is really well done) and the whole Black Mask versus Joker scenario. It would have been to have cut the Joker out of this book , even though he is a great character, and focus more on the morality of Stephanie's murder and the thinking behind the act of taking her life. As it stands this book is really quite disjointed, and none of the interesting sub plots from the main series carry over - Tim had donned the Robin mantle again but in this book he gets no mention at all, and Nightwing gets no mention either despite him being involved in the murder of Blockbuster - this in itself is a plot line that has a huge impact on his relationship with Batman. We don't get enough of the new commissioner either!

I don't hate this book at all, but it adds nothing really to the series - it is the weakest book of them all. I am glad i read it and got some more of the excellent series, but i found it a frustrating read. With a bit more thought and care behind it this could have been excellent, but is more of a damp squib!

If you loved the rest of the books in the series then you will want to buy this and catch up on the plot. If you were non-plussed by the others, then don't bother with this book.

It is an average book, whereas the other four volumes were top notch, and that makes this a disappointing read.....
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on 27 December 2012
Got this as a nostalgic gift for my older brother, went down great, anyone who liked batman/comics will like this. Tells the story behind parts of the film Batman Begins.
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on 22 April 2007
The "Year One" title puts one in mind of the works of Frank Miller and Chuck Dixon, with their superlative "Batman", "Robin" and "Batgirl" contributions. This edition however fails to deliver, on many levels, and is a showcase in lazy storytelling.

In its defence, we get two brief flashbacks to the early days of Ra's and his researches into immortality, and one to an early(ish) encounter between Ra's and Batman. It therefore receives one star. The rest of the book is spent on a bland excuse for zombies to rise in Gotham, and an ensuing paper chase for Batman that has no real sense of challenge. The final solution is made preposterous by the fact that Ra's never capitalised on it himself, having already provided it to Batman in the course of the story.

I would not recommend this purchase. Ra's al Ghul is a terrific character, but this book does nothing to enhance that character, and is proof that you should not judge a book by its cover.
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on 25 October 2010
I enjoyed the way they brought you back to Ra's journey through his letter. This showed a genuine touch that Ra's feelings towards the detective where genuine. My only down side was that I would of liked to of seen was when Ra's first entered a lazarous pit and to see how it effected his mental state.
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