DC struck gold again with another fantastic animated movie. DC/Warner Bros have been on a streak of bringing past comic book stories to life in animated features. While Marvel has been able to reign supreme in the theaters, the DC heroes rule the direct to TV market- and Batman: Year One does not disappoint. For those of you not familiar with the original BYO, it was written by Frank Miller in 1987 after the huge success of his Dark Knight Returns (1986). Like DKR, Year One was the first series to adopt the dark and gritty Batman that is so commonplace for his character today. When first hearing that DC would be bringing Year One to life, I was skeptical because of the unique style of illustrator David Mazzucchelli, but with Warner Bros recent track record, I was open.
Year One, starts out with the return of Bruce Wayne to Gotham City after a 15 year absence. Having already completed his training, he now starts his transformation into Batman and begins his quest against crime. Year One is also the introduction of Lt Gordon as he not only fights crime but the corrupt Gotham police force. While both men have the same mission of cleaning up the streets of Gotham, their start is a perilous one. After some bumps and bruises, it is clear that they will need each other in the near future if they and Gotham is to survive.
My only complaint is that this could almost be mistaken as ‘Gordon: Year One’. There is some very nice story telling about how Gordon navigates being a family man and honest police officer, however almost too much time is devoted to it. Like in previous incarnation of the dark knight, Batman has to play second fiddle to another story. It wasn’t enough to ruin Year One but it did keep it from being near perfect.
Overall, Batman: Year One is a fantastic addition to the DC/Warner Bros line up. It stays true to the original and is beautifully illustrated. If you are a Batman fan, this would make a great double-feature with the theatrical Batman Begins. It compliments Nolan’s continuity (or maybe the other way around) since it delves deeper into the early years of both Wayne/Gordon. Note, this is not for kids so divert them to Batman: Brave and the Bold. I highly recommend you check this out.