Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Classics - Batman #404

Wrapping up our look at classic issues of Batman (at least for now), here's one of the best.

After writer / artist Frank Miller scored a huge success with "old Batman" in The Dark Knight Returns, he tackled the same character at the other end of his career.

In four issues published in 1986 he crafted a modern, iconic version of Batman's origin - in many ways, it was the first "real world" version of Batman.

The artist on the series was David Mazzucchelli, an artist whose style is one-of-a-kind - it does a fantastic job of capturing the real, gritty world or Gotham City. Like Alex Toth, he manages to convey incredible depth and feeling with minimal lines and amazing use of shadows. It's stunning work.

The story begins with Bruce Wayne returning from his studies around the world, as he continues to make himself into the ultimate enemy of crime - but he still has a lot to learn before he's ready to become Batman. At the same time, Jim Gordon joins the Police Force - one good cop in a sea of corruption.

How they both deal with the amazing obstacles they face is a riveting tale - and one that brings them together in their fight against crime.

This was the first of the "Year One" stories, and there have been many others since - but none have been better. This one's easy to track down - it's been reprinted many times - and there's a good reason why.

Highly, highly recommended!

Grade: A+


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