This week on the Major Spoilers Podcast, The Major Spoilers Crew takes a look at Frank Miller’s four issue Batman: Year One story.

Batman: Year One

The story recounts the beginning of Bruce Wayne’s career as Batman and Jim Gordon’s with the Gotham City Police Department. Bruce Wayne returns home from training abroad in martial arts, manhunting, and science for the past 12 years, and James Gordon moves to Gotham with his wife, Barbara, after a transfer from Chicago. Both are swiftly acquainted with the corruption and violence of Gotham City, with Gordon witnessing his partner Detective Flass assaulting a teen for fun.

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About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. Man…what a great trade to have in your collection. Batman: Year One offers a fairly dark and emotional tale of two men trying to save a corrupt city. Being my first Batman trade, i was blown away at how well Frank Miller sets up an action scene of all things, and the little things Mazzucchelli does with the backgrounds added an odd sense of place and realism. Things like Gordon’s Mickey Mouse phone, the two cop mercenarys getting knocked out completely subtly, or, my personal favorite, the way background noises like doors creaking, phones ringing and babies crying appear very subtly in the background. I could go on and on about how each page seems to have a color theme to represent the events in it or how Batman’s 1960’s-esque suit fits well with his “less dark than the Dark Knight attitude”. 5 slices of tasty meatloaf.

    P.S. The drawings in the end of the trade paperback are excellent and fun to look at.

  2. I was able to get the 4 issues for $0.25 from a guy who didn’t know what he had. I had heard of Year One, seen some of Year 2, and 3, but was put off by them. I after paying the man I read the comics, and oh did I love them. The characterzation of rookie Batman, knocking around was the best Frank Miller had to offer. Since now he has taken a one way ticket to Crazyville. But as I glanced over the mesmerizing artwork of Mazzucchelli, which was my first time seeing his work, it took me aback. This is Gotham. This is Gordon. This is Batman, the way they are supposed to look. It gelled so well together. A fantastic origin story, with heart and soul. In my opinion this is far better then Frank’s other praised Batman work that of Dark Knight Returns, and rightfully so.

  3. Batman: Year One came out on the heels of the critically acclaimed Miller/Mazzucchelli Daredevil: Born Again story. Much like Daredevil has never really moved away from Born Again, Batman has been forever tied to Year One. Whether it’s The Long Halloween or Batman Begins, creators seem to like to dip back into the well Miller and Mazzucchelli created. I don’t know if there has been such a defining Batman story other than Miller’s Dark Knght Returns.

    Things I appreciate about this story arc:
    Instead of being a mini-series like the Return of Bruce Wayne or Flash Rebirth, it was just four issues of the Batman comic book.
    It was a soft reboot and unlike what occurred with Byrne’s Superman, Perez’s Wonder Woman or the Hawkworld mini-series, it didn’t radically change the Batman continuity. Other than backing away from the prostitute angle of Selina Kyle, this reboot has pretty much stuck since 1987; whereas, we’ve had at least two different versions of the Superman origin in the same time period.
    That it is as much a story about Jim Gordon as it is a story about a young Bruce Wayne. In many ways, I find Gordon’s story much more compelling.

  4. What was great about Year One:

    1. It took the gritty, realistic tone that Denny O’Neil had been trying to establish for Batman since the beginning of the 70’s, and made it resonate.

    2. Made Jim Gordon a bad ass (this was before Miller decided that every character that he writes should have some sort of deadly military training), and gave him as much depth and pathos as any of the other characters.

    3. Further cemented Alfred as a father figure. This concept was introduced in Return of the Dark Knight, but seemed to become canon with this book.

    4. While gritty, this title was a very optimistic take on Batman and his outlook. He is determined, but moral and caring. Same for Gordon.

    5. Established Gordon and Wayne as flip sides of the same coin, and showed how Batman, in an understandable way, could be allowed to do what he does without interference from the justice system.

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