Comics / DC Comics History

Batman: Year Two


By Brad Dade
Sep 23, 2006 - 9:38

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Batman Year Two originally run as a mini-series in DETECTIVE COMICS. It was planned as a sequel to the groundbreaking BATMAN YEAR ONE series written by Frank Miller. Besides the “Year Two” in the title the connections between this series and Miller’s pretty much stop there, except that yes, both stories feature a young Batman.

The goal of YEAR TWO was to reveal several plot ideas from far in the Batman’s past that had not been addressed by the modern Batman readers. The story revolves around Batman confronting THE REAPER, Gotham’s first vigilante. The Reaper has returned after a number of years to continue his crusade of fighting evil in Gotham City. The problem is the Reaper is a killer. Not only does he kills those he perceives as criminals, but also has no problem murdering any police or civilians that get in his way. In order to stop the Reaper Batman is forced to so two things he thought he would never do. Batman picks up gun and teams up with the man that killed his parents, Joe Chill.

SO, WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT IT?

The Reaper has a great look to him. The skull mask, black cloak, red armor look great along with the two “sickle’s” he uses are very striking.

The first chapter is drawn by Alan Davis with the latter three drawn by future superstar Todd Mcfarlane. Davis’s work is beautiful in its simplicity. It is very fluid and goes from panel to panel very well. Of particular note is the first battle between the Reaper and Batman. Davis does a great job or choreographing the fight. The best shot is when Batman is bent over after the Reaper cuts him across the chest. The hate and pain Davis draws in Batman face tells more than any words can.

SO, ANYTHING BAD HERE?

First the title. This is not a sequel in anyway to Miller’s Year one story. Furthermore besides a couple of references(such as the construction of the Wayne foundation building, Gordon first becoming Commissioner) there is no “year two” feel here. Miller’s Year One took place over the course of a year. This story takes place over the course of a couple of weeks.

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Now on to the portrayal of Batman. First the decision to start using a gun. There is a reason Bob Kane got rid of the gun over half a century ago. It doesn’t fit with Batman, his look, or his goals. Why have a utility belt filled with batarangs of you’re packing heat? Also the “team up” with Joe Chill and the mob doesn’t make sense. Not because Batman would never team up with them but rather after reading the whole story one notices that Batman never really needed their help so the whole exercise is a poorly conceived plot device.

Finally about the characterization of Batman, in this story he finds time to find true love. The woman happen to be the daughter of the Reaper(how original). The problem here is after training for 18 years, going around the world, and now after just over a year of doing the work he has trained for, Bruce Wayne is willing to stop being Batman and marry a women he has known for ONLY A FEW WEEKS!! This one speaks for itself.

I haven’t mentioned Todd Mcfarlane’s art yet. Some people love it. Some hate it. Here, I much more enjoyed Alan Davis’s artwork. First, I know there is no set rule, but Mcfarlane likes to draw capes like they have a life of their own. Sometimes a thirty foot hang glider behind Batman can be quite distracting. Also, There seems to be a problem with continuity. One panel has both Batman and the Reaper fighting on the ground. The very next panel has them flying on top of a skyscraper. I know he has his bat-ropes and such, but leap tall buildings in a single bound? That’s Superman’s turf.

WORTH ANOTHER LOOK?

If you’ve read this before, don’t look back. You might find the portrayal of Batman annoying and the striking difference in styles between the two artists doesn’t enhance the weak story.


Last Updated: Jun 26, 2018 - 9:28

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