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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Detective Story
Following the time after I read Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns", whenever I hear the name "Batman", my mind immediately conjures up a vision of a lonely, troubled, ordinary man who, night by night, uses his detective skills to apprehend the criminals. He moves in the shadows and strikes fear into all those who are guilty and he. Never. Smiles.
Thanks to Miller,...
Published on 20 Jan 2004 by spookysheikh

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review from / for graphic novel novices
My boyfriend has been haranguing me for ages to read a graphic novel: he's something of a connoisseur, I'm a comic virgin. He recommended 'Year One' to me as a classic of the genre.

I have to admit I was a bit baffled by it all. The graphic novel is a form I just don't get!

The story seemed fragmented, more as if I was coming to it having missed the...
Published on 24 Oct 2011 by Mme DLR


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Detective Story, 20 Jan 2004
This review is from: Batman: Year One (Paperback)
Following the time after I read Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns", whenever I hear the name "Batman", my mind immediately conjures up a vision of a lonely, troubled, ordinary man who, night by night, uses his detective skills to apprehend the criminals. He moves in the shadows and strikes fear into all those who are guilty and he. Never. Smiles.
Thanks to Miller, comic book writers proceeding after "Dark Knight Returns" have, for the most part, remained true to this vision. "Batman: Year One" is such an example and is truly a seminal body of work in the Batman canon.
"Batman: Year One" introduces us to two main characters, one being the aforementioned Dark Knight and the other being his most trusting friend and ally, (Lieutenant) James Gordon. The story is interwoven between these two men of Gotham City. Bruce Wayne has returned after having spent twelve years abroad with only one thing firmly rooted in his mind: to catch the bad guys. This desire runs parallel to (new cop in town) Gordon's own, in his case with addition to dealing with a corrupt police force.
Which is the beauty of this story. We see two men, one working for the law, and the other outside it, trying to come to terms with what they have to face. Gordon hates his job and corrupt superiors, regrets that his wife is bringing a child into this godforsaken city and has an affair to forget his troubles. Bruce Wayne/Batman on the other hand, has to come to deal with how he can strike fear into the hearts of men and maintain the image of a social elite at the same time. Something tells me they will get the hang of it.
Mazzuchelli's artwork is beautiful. Although I have always been a comic book fan, I've never really cared for the art unless it fails to help the story along. In this case, it does so much more. The art makes me feel totally uneasy with Gotham City, like I'm in Jim Gordon's place. It is perfect.
The most astounding feature of "Batman: Year One" is that it reads like a detective story and not a blockbusting special effects bonanza. Batman has always been a detective first and a "super-hero" second. He doesn't work like Superman, a character with whom comparisons are constant. It reminded me why I like him more than Superman: because he is, to all ends and purposes, only human. Miller keeps him that way which makes this a gritty and thrilling read.
I liked this book because it revived my interest in the Batman. I hear the film will be based on some elements of this story - I hope that the final script remains true to the detective aspect of "Batman: Year One", because it works best like that. The last two Batman movies were guilty of making Batman less mysterious. I want the real Batman back and if you read this book, you will too.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Batman story ever., 29 Mar 2006
Although Frank Miller is better known for the like of comic book classics like Sin City or The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One has got to be his best. Miller completely redefined Batman for a new generation, and yet again completely de-camped the character to being so grim and gritty that it is hard to imagine that he was ever treated like a joke. The story follows Bruce Wayne returning to Gotham after a 12 year abscence, and Jim Gordon arriving there as a Lieutenant. Gotham city has become a place owned by crime, depression, and corruption. While Jim Gordon discovers that he is one of the only honest cops around, Bruce Wayne realises that he is one of the only honest citiznes around. After as distarous first attempt to fight crime, Bruce learns that he must use fear in a city like this, and so becomes the Batman.
Although Batman: Year One could be considered more a Gordon book than a Batman one, when Batman appears every time it is amazing. Miller manages to once again take Batman, change him, and make him so much better. An absolute classic.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First comic ever read, and I liked it!, 24 July 2008
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First off: This review is only for comic book noobs, like myself!

I was recommended 2 comics to start me off on the road of comic reading, The Watchmen and Batman: Year One (due to the Batman Begins film being loosely based around this book). I read Batman first as it's much shorter, and wow, I feel like I've missed out on another world all these years! I was really suprised that the film was glammed up in comparison to at least this comic. It's very dark and Gotham really is messed up!

I almost couldn't put it down. The art work was great to look at and told a lot of the story that wasn't told in writing. I'm not sure if all comics are this clever, but I was impressed with the subtle story telling of the artwork.

Anyway, I was pretty sure that I'd not like comic books, but having read this one, I'm very excited to start The Watchmen, and have ordered a few more Batman novels to get my teeth sunk into. So well recommended for the first time reader I'd say as it's not too fantastical as some of the stuff I browsed over in the comic book store!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gordon and Gotham, 2 Aug 2011
By 
Lark (North Coast of Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This is a great milestone in the Batman mythos, as the introduction indicates Frank Miller (whose other work I will definitely consider reading after reading this) had already written the "omega" of Batman with his story featuring an older Bruce Wayne compelled to come out of retirement in Batman: Dark Knight Returns and this is Miller's "alpha" with Bruce Wayne's conception of Batman and first foray into vigilantism.

The book is comprised of a few introductory pages, the story itself, followed by some storyboards with narrative from the artist, an afterword by Miller and the covers, preliminary sketches, some scripting of dialogue and stages in production and an early "comic" sketched at a young age by the artist and recounted in their piece. This is excellent and really serves to clarify what DC was doing at the time this book was commissioned, in the eighties revival and revitalisation was being sought for comics heroes such as Batman, and, most importantly, it also focuses on the differences between the "pop" Batman TV series and the Bob Kane original.

This perhaps wont matter as much to readers or fans who are familiar with Batman from the reinvention or revival sparked by Tim Burton, the reaction to it and I would suggest very ill conceived attempt to return to a more "pop" Batman with movies like the one featuring Arnie as Dr Freeze, and more recent Batman Begins and Dark Knight movies. However, the conflict between the characterisations from the TV series and Bob Kane's original concept are totally undeniable and I concur totally with Frank Miller's afterword that Batman was supposed to be an menacing crime fighter, Miller is more sure of this than Mazzuchelli who suggests an equal debt to both incarnations. While Mazzuchelli's recollections of both incarnations are heart warming and humanising, and I for one really like to see an artist adopting a position contrary to revisionists or "hero bashing", I thought Miller's comments were nearer the mark for me personally.

All this context is provided without it becoming a "study in Batman" or overshadowing the story itself, which is an excellent story and one I would recommend to firm fan or new comer to Batman alike. The main narrator is Gordon, not yet commissioner, who begins from his first days in Gotham, its easy to see from this format how spin offs including the Gotham City Police Department/GCPD series have come about, and his own story builds parallel to that of Bruce Wayne. I think that a proper balance between realism and fantasy is struck in this comic, much better than any of the film adaptations, with some great reflections on how close Wayne comes to making bad situations worse with his personal interventions or how unappreciated vigilantism can be the very people its originally meant to be in assistance of. Organised crime is the villain of the piece but, I've got to say, so is a corrupt police force which operates a lot like a mob all by itself.

I also liked the extent to which both Mazzuchelli and Miller aimed to reflect that Batman is more than simply someone stuck in a traumatic moment seeking revenge. I think this is one of the crucial distinctions between DC's Batman and Marvel's Frank Castle/The Punisher, while it is perhaps possible to be sympathic to each, Bruce Wayne is campaigning for a better world, the one he would have liked to have grown up in with his parents and one in which the Batman is obsolete. In reading this story I really had a sense in which the Wayne was the feature character, Batman his alter ego, and not vice versa. This is something a lot of Batman stories can not really achieve or if they try dont quite do so without it becoming dull or diversions from the moments of high drama, action and adventure once Wayne dons the crime fighting garb.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I reserve 5 stars for the absolute best, 20 July 2003
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This review is from: Batman: Year One (Paperback)
The other reviewers have done a fine job touting Frank Miller's skills and so I won't waste time going over that again. If you haven't done so already buy this book and his "The Dark Knight Returns". Read them both as they respectively mark the beginning and end of the Batman. Though, bearing that in mind you don't have to read them in that order (though I would), as Frank Miller did write "Year One" after "Dark Knight".
What needs to be said is how good David Mazzucchelli's artwork is. Frank is a damn good penciller but his inks though atmospheric are a bit scratchy. Mazzuccchelli's was the right choice as his lines are much strong. Batman looks like a guy in a suit and when we are rethinking Batman in ultra-realistic mode, that is just the feel that is needed.
In short, buy it. I used to read standard Batman comics and enjoyed them. It wasn't until I read Frank Miller and Alan Moore (see "The Killing Joke") that I really recognised the character for who he is: the most important entity in American comic fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great buy!, 7 Jan 2004
By 
Kurt A. Johnson (Marseilles, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Batman: Year One (Paperback)
It's January 4th, and Gotham City witness two arrivals: the arrival of Lieutenant James Gordan, and the return of millionaire Bruce Wayne. Wayne and Gordon both see that Gotham needs to be cleaned up, but each has his own ideas of how it should be done. While Gordon begins his cleaning under the eyes of the press, Bruce Wayne assumes the identity of a bat and begins cleaning up the city under the cover of darkness. But, with the two working from such very different angles, confrontation is inevitable, and out of the confrontation comes...friendship?
This book was published in 1988, containing BATMAN #404-407 (1987). The quality of the illustrations is a bit lower than one has come to expect from more recent graphic novels, but the fact is that the story is excellent and makes the whole book a great buy! As with the stories of the Golden Age comic books, this story pits Batman against an array of regular bad guys, rather than super-powerful super-villains (although the genesis of Catwoman is included!), which I rather enjoyed! Overall, I found this to be a great introduction to Batman, one that keeps up the excellent tradition. I highly recommend this book!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The compelling story of the Dark Knight's first year..., 22 July 2001
By 
This review is from: Batman: Year One (Paperback)
Frank Miller's stunning tale of an young Bruce Wayne's first attempts to dispense justice in the dark and seedy streets of Gotham City. Along with the startlingly compelling account of a Batman who is not quite the highly skilled vigilante that he will one day become, is a sub-plot that bri ngs a young James Gordon (Lieutenant Gordon at this point in time...) to Gotham, a James Gordon who is willing to bend the rules to see justice served...
Characterisation is second to none, with possibly the most well rounded characters I have ever seen in the medium, and the art brings a neo-noir feel with washed out colours reflecting the cloudy morality on display. In short, this is an awesome companion piece to Miller's more highly regarded classic, The Dark Knight Returns, an exceptional tribute to the Dark Knight that lurks within us all...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration, in part, for Batman Begins, 1 May 2009
I bought this along with The Killing Joke and Batman : Dark Knight Returns to get a grounding in the comic book side of Batman. I couldn't have done better.

There are a number of elements that this book has contributed to recent reboot of the Batman franchise on the silver screen but more than enough left untold to keep your interest. If anything, it feels like the films are a cheap rip off.

It's an excellent telling of the initial forays, both successful and not, into crime fighting. Coupled with the struggle Gordon meets after transferring to Gotham City which provides a baptism of fire for both of these endearing characters.

If you want to fill in a few gaps in the Batman ethos, the three book I've outlined are a great place to start.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Batman's First Adventure, 20 Jun 2014
By 
Timelord007 (The Tardis) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Batman Year One Deluxe SC (Paperback)
Batman Year One.
Deluxe Edition.
144 Pages.
Written By Frank Miller.
Illustrations By David Mazucchelli.

Plot Synopsis.
Lieutenant James Gordon takes up a new post in the crime-ridden & corrupt city of Gotham, while billionaire Bruce Wayne returns to the scene of his parent's deaths, intent on punishing the criminal element.

Each of these men faces trials & challenges of their own, only for their lives to become irrevocably and potentially tragically intertwined as the shadow of the bat falls on Gotham, so a legend rises in the name of Batman as together he & Jim Gordon will battle against the criminals & corruption of Gotham City aided by Assistant district attorney Harvey Dent.

Timelord thoughts.
This is an outstanding graphic novel by the brilliant Frank Miller who has created a excellent origin story with many of this storys elements featuring in 2005's Batman Begins especially the excellent ending were Jim Gordon now promoted to Commissioner meets Batman on the Police rooftop informing him a man who goes by the name of Joker is planning to poison Gotham Citys reservoirs is a clever masterstroke.

Writer Frank Miller delivers gritty realism showing Bruce Wayne becoming a orphan when his parents are murdered in front of him as Miller taps into Bruce Waynes psyche & his training to become more than just a man allowing Bruce Wayne to make mistakes at first while he slowly hones in on detective & fighting skills & use of gadgetry as slowly Batman becomes the Dark Knight of Gotham City & how he as Batman can strike fear into the hearts of criminals.

Year One also deals with Jim Gordon a honest non-corrupt yet naive cop in Gotham City who is unprepared for the mayhem & chaos he will indure on the streets & fights his own colleagues (at times literally) to uphold the law, Yet Miller allows Gordon to have flaws as due to the pressures of being cop he starts a brief affair with Detective Sarah Essen while his wife is pregnant with James Jr which adds realism to this story instead of Gordon being one note character.

This is a excellent graphic novel who superb illustrations by David Mazucchelli who gets Millars tone & brings this story to life plus a mature gritty realistic written story by Frank Miller makes Batman Year One a must have purchase for Batman fans.

Timelord Rating.
9/10
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest, 3 Sep 2013
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Batman Year One Deluxe SC (Paperback)
You know the classics of literature - War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, Middlemarch? There are aspects to them to appreciate and patient readers can be rewarded greatly with those books. But let's be honest - most of us view classics as a bit of a chore. But what about classic comics? Kind of the same thing, but not for so many. Some classic comics, Marvel and DC especially, are tough to read because the stories from the 40s and 50s are so badly written and cheesy, and the art is hit or miss, though most of them possess a guileless charm to them that makes them easier to stomach. When it comes to comics, no character stands taller than Batman, and no Batman book has more of a reputation than Year One. Is it a chore to read? No. Has it aged poorly? Not even a bit. Does it deserve it's title as a true bona fide classic? (Austin Powers voice) Yeah, baby!

Year One is Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli's retelling of Batman's origin and through their retelling they set the tone and standard for all other Batman books that followed. A 25 year old Bruce Wayne returns to a nightmarish Gotham City riddled with crime at the same time as an older but still young James Gordon, recently transferred to the GCPD and entering Gotham City for the first time. Both men have a clear mission: to clean up the streets of crime and make Gotham habitable for decent, hardworking folks.

Some readers have wondered why Gordon gets as much space - maybe more - as Bruce Wayne in this book and the answer is simple: they're both two sides of the same coin. The very first Batman story opens with Bruce and Jim sitting, talking about crime, and Jim is arguably Batman's best friend. Batman's origin would tie in with Gordon's as their lives will be linked forever once they dig their heels in and bring justice to Gotham.

It's been a few years since I read Year One and I really hoped it would hold up - and it did. Whatever your feelings are about Frank Miller today (and he has unfortunately gone from genius writer to crackpot old man), his work in the 80s ranks amongst the best the comics medium has ever produced, and Year One is arguably the pinnacle of that work. He went from telling the last Batman story ever with The Dark Knight Returns to, with his next book, going back to the very beginning and telling the first Batman story ever - and both are masterpieces.

In just four issues, we see Bruce get into his first fight as an unmasked vigilante, to realising he must don a disguise, to the famous "Yes. Father. I will become a bat" scene, to his fledgling first missions to clear up corrupt police, mob bosses, and the iconic dinner party scene where he appears to Gotham's most powerful and evil to inform them they have eaten well but from now on none of them are safe. And the scene when Batman takes down the SWAT team? Brilliant. Still tense, exciting, and fantastic to read.

It's a testament to Miller's writing that he's able to take Gordon, who for many is little more than a one-note background character, and makes you care about him as much as you do Batman. Gordon becomes Gotham's first non-corrupt officer, fighting his own colleagues (literally and figuratively) to uphold the law and become better than the criminals they chase, while his wife is pregnant with James Jr. (see Batman: The Black Mirror for what happened to James Jr. when he grew up) and the stresses of the job leading to him make some bad decisions.

We also meet Selina Kyle for the first time, working as a dominatrix in Gotham's red light district, as she decides to become her own costumed character, Catwoman, after first seeing Batman. Mazzuchelli's art in this book is flawless but my one criticism of the book is Catwoman's outfit - I hate the whiskers and tail! What use are either to a cat burglar? And it just looks stupid.

Anyway, Year One is a must-read for all Batman fans - as if you didn't already know! Everyone who has even a cursory knowledge of Batman comics knows Year One is one of the first to read. And it is - but it's also one to re-read and come back to again and again because there are a LOT of Batman books, but few of such high quality as Year One. A great beginning for the Dark Knight and the man who would be Commissioner. Just don't read Year Two!
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Batman Year One Deluxe SC
Batman Year One Deluxe SC by Frank Miller (Paperback - 7 Feb 2007)
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