"Before beginning, prepare carefully."
Marcus Tullius Cicero, Ancient Roman poet and philosopher
Few things in fiction are as memorable as beginnings and endings. In the case of superheroes, whose stories never really end, it's their beginnings that stick with us. Of the zillions of superhero origins perma-looping through my brain, none of them are quite as powerful...or as visceral..as the origin of BATMAN.
Of course, Batman's origin story has been told and retold a hundred different times by a hundred different storytellers over the nearly seven decade history of the character. Of those multiple iterations and creative perspectives, my absolute favorite remains Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's Batman: Year One (1986). Like nobody else before them (or since, for that matter) Miller and Mazzucchelli brought a real cinematic gravitas and grandeur to an origin story story that had traditionally been presented as brisk four or five panel flashbacks. Basically as an afterthought. Now, for the first time (at least in my experience), Bruce Wayne's crucial first steps as Batman were being told in "real time", providing insights and thought processes that had never really been explored in previous Batman origins.
Sharing the narrative spotlight with a young Gotham police lieutenant named James Gordon, Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City after a dozen years of training and preparation. Following an overconfident venture into Gotham's underworld, a seriously wounded Bruce returns to Wayne Manor seeking his father's silent counsel...
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