My (LIVE) Impromptu Read-Along: BATMAN Year One #1

HEY!!!

I hope y’all are enjoying the weekend and the first day of June (:00_dc_pride: :00_dc_pride_poci:shout out to all the LGBTQ+ DC nerds here on the first day of Pride Month! :00_dc_pride: :00_dc_pride_poci:).

This is something I had in my head for a while, and I figured: well, I want to post more regularly here AND do a bit more than just talk about a movie I just saw or rant about Supergirl, so…

Impromptu, real time read-along!

Today, for your entertainment (and mine), I am going to read and react to the first issue of a legendary comic book: BATMAN: Year One by Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli, Richmond Lewis, and Todd Klein.

This will be different from how the formal read-alongs in the Community have functioned. This will be more me reading through the book and reacting to it in real-time!

Every following post will have my thoughts and musings on a specific page of the book, along with accompanying pictures (and also reaction gifs and memes, if the moment feels right).

Now, this is in real-time, so I might stop and start at points during the read. It is currently 3:35 ET where I live, so there might be a break in the action or two before I finish the issue!

If you’re following along, feel free to comment! This is as mush for your enjoyment as it is mine and if you have the time, I would love to have you around. Like most things, this would be lots more fun with other folks.

The read-along proceeds in the next post(s) down below :arrow_down: :arrow_down: :arrow_down:

LETS GOOOOOOOOOOOOO

:00_batman_1986: :00_batman_1986: :00_batman_1986: :00_batman_1986: :00_batman_1986: :00_batman_1986: :00_batman_1986: :00_batman_1986: :00_batman_1986: :00_batman_1986:

4 Likes

Just to let you know how real this is, here is a picture of my old copy of Batman: Year One:

I have had this copy since I was a kid!!!

So excited to dig into this. It’s a book I have flipped through many, many times. But it’s been forever since I did a genuine re-read from start to finish. I’m focusing on Issue One for today, but if I have the time, hopefully I can do all of this book.

One last thing before I proceed: this feels weird to put here for a comic book that has been out in the world since (checks notes) 1987, been printed and reprinted a gazillion times, has had an animated adaptation AND has been influenced at least several major live-action renditions of our favorite pointy-eared detective, but in the interest of fairness…

This running read-along contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for Batman: Year One, Issue One. If you have not read this book or you are not comfortable with spoilers, please consider stopping here and reading the book in full before coming back!

Now with that out of the way…

4 Likes

BATMAN: Year One #1

Script: Frank Miller
Art: David Mazzuchelli
Colors: Richmond Lewis
Letters: Todd Klein

3 Likes

Issue One, Page One

Here we have a (relatively) young Gordon AND a young Bruce arriving in Gotham at the same time, establishing the dual narratives that weave in and out of through the book.

What strikes me here - and it was the same thing that struck me as a kid reading this - is the sly bit of storytelling being employed on the part of maestro Todd Klein.

The narration boxes for Gordon drawn up as though they were written down on a yellow notepad, while Bruce’s is cursive on a clean white background (like a sheet of paper from a journal) is just…

Also, Gordon on this page and the next absolutely dreading bringing his pregnant wife (named Barbara…in this continuity) is totally valid.

Arguably, moreso than back when this issue was published, the only sane reason a normal human being would want to go live in Gotham City should equate to something like this:

Because that’s just GC in the modern continuity at this point.

Meanwhile, this is Bruce Wayne, always and forever:

3 Likes

Issue One, Page Two

Here we are intro’d to Flass, and boy what an intro.

A rando comes up to Gordon trying to hustle a donation out of him.

Flass comes over and instead of shooing him off or pulling Gordon over to stroll along with him, he just:

This is a perfect time to point out that Frank Miller lived in New York for the majority of the 80’s (back when DC and Marvel both had offices a block away from each other).

I believe Frank has recalled stories of when he would get jumped while going to and from where he lived. And as I’m sure people who lived in 70s/80s NYC could attest, the city sounded like a rough place to be.

So, as he did in Daredevil, he is writing what he knows (that will become more apparent later in…other ways).

Anyway, we also have Bruce arriving in Gotham to a cavalcade of paparazzi, a scene that may look a little familiar by this point:

image

4 Likes

Issue One, Page Three

From the previous page:

Romance, you say?

There’s not really a straightforward ‘romance’ in this comic, per se. But it’s worth noting for who shows up later.

One Harvey Dent appearance later:

And we are introduced to Commissioner Loeb, the other big SOAB of Gordon’s storyline. We’ll find out very soon how nasty this dude is.

Btw, check this out:

Gotta love the utterly random product placement in classic cape comics.

Anyway, we’re at Wayne Manor:

4 Likes

Issue One, Page Four

Something I forgot to mention earlier: put 2, maybe three more inches of height on Jesse Plemons and he’d be a perfect Flass.

Had to get that in before the scene that occurs on this page.

Gotta give it to Frank: he was writing about the profound grotesque-ness of police brutality and corruption decades before it exploded as an issue in recent times.

I do love getting a peek into Gordon’s tactician mind…

3 Likes

Issue One, Page Five

After a restroom break, I come back and find Gordon having exactly my reaction to Flass assaulting a black kid just cause:

FUN FACT: there are…let’s say other reasons why this poor dude would want the pregnancy tests to come back negative:

But for the sake of our sanities, we won’t get too deep into that (or how & why this character keeps popping in and out of DC continuity like a dang whack-a-mole).

Anyway, here’s a Mazzucchelli art break:

Loving the way this book denotes time throughout the story. Really adds to the feeling of seeing the epic beginnings of these characters play out (and it’s somewhat similar to the narrative device used in Batman: The Long Halloween).

Also, another look at Flass being the worst:

2 Likes

Issue One, Page Six

It’s February 21 and Bruce Wayne is punching through bricks like he’s $#@%ing Goku:

It’s February 26 and Flass and Loeb are bring the Absolute Worst… :sparkles:together:sparkles:

3 Likes

Issue One, Page Seven

I’m reading this book while a Synthwave mix plays in the background and let me tell you: the vibes couldn’t be more immaculate for the panels of Bruce going undercover.

Also gushing over Mazzucchelli’s use of silhouettes in this panel (and in a panel on the next page):

2 Likes

Issue One, Page Eight

Honestly keep forgetting that Gordon is a military vet in almost every continuity…I think.

A valiant effort trying to fight these dudes like the beginning sequence from Matt Reeves’ The Batman…but he’s no Batman.

Also:

IMG_0034

4 Likes

Issue One, Page Nine

Battery is running low on my IPad where I’m doing most of the typing, so I’ll take a break after this page.

This is a fun exercise, though!

Anyway, back to the book and…well remember what I told you on Page Two.

Frank Miller is writing what he knows. And funnily enough, he would keep coming back to the world of pimps, prostitutes and other more unsavory types of figures in his later career (see: Sin City)

Oh yeah, this exchange:

HOLLY: Cheer you up?

BRUCE (undercover): I doubt it. How old are you.

HOLLY: Young as you want me to be.

From a 2024 lens…yikes.

BUT!

Again, this is supposedly drawn from the reality of Frank’s experiences living in NYC in the 80s and we know that this is just Bruce using the facade to get deeper into this world and figure out how to factor the rough stuff into his vigilante crime-fighting.

MEDIA LITERACY, folks! I promise you, it’s a thing and some people possess it.

Lastly, this is from the next page, but I swear the way Mazzuchelli has the hat drawn on his head makes it look like Bruce has an Afro:

Gonna charge the IPad, have some dinner and be back! Maybe I’ll finish this issue before tonight’s episode of My Adventures with Superman?

We’ll see!

4 Likes

Can’t wait! I love the dedication you’ve decided to put into reading and analyzing this comic

2 Likes

That it SO very kind of you to say, dude!

This was an idea in my head for a very long time for if I ever came back to posting more regularly here and yeah, I’m happy you are enjoying the commentary and getting something out of it.

I hope to do this with other comics, too! Yes, Batman: Year One has been examined and think-pieced over by people way smarter than me, but I figured that a story that was one of my most formative comic-reading experiences as a kid would be a good place to start.

I’m gonna see if I can fit one more page before My Adventures with Superman tonight, but I’ll totally pick this up tomorrow and get to the next issues hopefully sooner rather than later.

Thanks for reading!

3 Likes

Issue One, Page Ten

Bruce Wayne’s attempt to be discreet during an undercover mission in the Red Light district (East End) is going over so well, you guys!

But while that bit of business is going down, let’s take a moment to talk about another major character introduction:

(NOTE to Moderators: this book is a bit on the intense side, but no more than what you’d see in PG-13 films nowadays. Let me know if images like this are too much and I’ll move to take it down if necessary)

We have our :catwoman_hv_1:Catwoman:catwoman_hv_3:, y’all!

Three things:

ONE: I will have to read further and see if my mind changes on this, but I felt that Selina’s storyline and evolution into Catwoman here is a little inelegant. The book spends so much time building the foundation of the Batman/Gordon dynamic (separately and together) that Selina’s subplot can’t help but feel a bit tertiary later on.

Maybe this changes on a re-read. Who knows!

TWO: I believe this is the second depiction of Selina Kyle as a Black woman in DC Media (following after the eternal Eartha Kitt).

THREE: Selina being a high-class prostitute in a bad environment who resorts to petty thievery to try and buy a better life for her and a friend/loved one/acquaintance.

Sounds familiar:

image

Then again, this has been almost her default origin in most continuities since the comic hit stands in ‘87.

Massively influential, this story was!

Okay, I will call it here for today. Tomorrow (depending on how early I get) I will finish the remainder of Issue One!

To everybody following along: y’all are awesome and the audience is much appreciated.

:batparrot: :batparrot: :batparrot: :batparrot: :batparrot: :batparrot: :batparrot: :batparrot:

3 Likes

See ya tomorrow!

:batparrot:

3 Likes

Happy Sunday, y’all!

Going to get dressed and eat, but we’ll pick this read-along where we left off yesterday with Issue One, Page Eleven of Batman: Year One.

Stay tuned (something Bat-time, something Bat-channel)!

:00_batman_1986: :00_batman_1986: :00_batman_1986:

3 Likes

Issue One, Page Eleven

Alrighty!

After a long break, we return to BATMAN: Year One…and to Bruce Wayne choosing violence.

This fight (like all things in this book, wonderfully illustrated by Mazzuchelli) begins like you may expect - predictably one-sided:

Until…

Bruce’s reaction, albeit understandably:

Like I said, his reconnaissance mission into the seediest part of the city (a Red Light district on steroids) is :sparkles:going great :sparkles:

And very shortly, it’s about to get worse…

2 Likes

Issue One, Page Twelve

Gonna take this moment here to give a special shout-out to Richmond Lewis, the colorist of the book.

I just would be remiss if I didn’t say that his color work had the same impact as Miller’s writing, Mazzuchelli’s pencils and Klein’s lettering.

Because it clearly does and what he achieves in this sequence and many others is simply marvelous. Even more so when considering that this was more than a decade or so before the advent of digital coloring/rendering techniques.

Honestly makes me even happier knowing that I own a copy of this book (trademarked 2005) that retains Lewis’ work without any notable alterations (well aware of the controversy surrounding the digital color remasters on some recent reprints).

Back to the story itself…wait, what’s this? Oh, oh my god y’all, look at this:

Could it be???

Oh my GOD, IT’S SELINA KYLE WITH THE STEEL CHA-

Ooooh, okay. Nevermind.

And now it’s One Punch Man (Bruce) against the popo. Wonder how that’s gonna go…

2 Likes

Issue One, Page Thirteen

Sorry I kept y’all waiting. Had to deal with a thing.

HEY, remember that scene in Matt Reeves’ The Batman where the Bat and the Cat fought each other for the first time? It was well-shot, incredibly well-acted, it was dramatic and a little sensual…

Why did I bring that up? No reason :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, Undercover Bruce gets wasted:

Or…so it seems. Don’t worry, it’s just a flesh wound.

Oh, it hit an artery? Oh dear…

So, cut to Bruce bleeding like a stuck pig in the back of a police cruiser with two bozos who are about to have a Very Bad Time.

Cause as we saw earlier in the book, despite his obvious inexperience: Bruce still possesses the equivalent strength of a jacked kangaroo:

1 Like