Batman: Year One Book 2
Author: Kim Gaines
In case I didn’t express it clearly enough in my review for the first chapter of Batman Year One, Jim Gordon is one badass MotherYouKnowWhat!
The chapter starts off with a hostage situation, where an insane man released from Arkham is holding up three children in a house. (Let’s take brief moment to ponder whose bright idea it was to release a man from Arkham. I repeat, from Arkham.) Now while the other officers are ready to shoot the hell out of this establishment with little regard for the lives involved, Gordon rolls up, relinquishes his gun, and walks right in.
Crazy hostage holding man: No lunch, no lunch…
Gordon: I’ll order out.
Jim Gordon ain’t got time for this.
From there Miller launches into a wonderful narrative from Gordon’s point of view, that’s gritty, sharp, and poignant. At the range, he hates guns, but he doesn’t stop shooting. At home, work takes him away, but he doesn’t ignore the call. He’s a such a unique character, and he mimics many of the same traits and burdens as Bruce. It’s interesting to see how much they are alike, even before they knew each other.
Switching to Batman’s point of view, Bruce still isn’t at the level we know and love; the level we’ve come to expect. He definitely struggles with three kids stealing a TV. Not because they’re enough to challenge him, but because he doesn’t really want to hurt them. Bruce’s internal voice here, is great. One of my favorite things about Batman comics, is listening to his thought process as he fights and works his way through the situation. It really allows you to see how all the gears turn, and subsequently make the entire machine work.
As the story goes on, the police are trying to figure out how to deal with Batman. At first the current Commissioner can’t be bothered with the details. But when Batman threatens him, and all the dirty politicians and gangsters that he works with, his tune changes pretty quickly. Gordon suddenly finds himself under more pressure to get rid of Batman, by any means necessary.
This particular part of the story is very remnant of the Nolan films. If you ever wanted to explore more of the universe he was trying to create, I’d start with this comic. Batman has always been more than a superhero story. It’s a detective story. Miller understands that, and I think his choice to examine Gordon and Bruce as entirely separate characters first, helps push that angle of this universe, and makes it more thrilling to watch.
Especially watching Gordon watch. Rather than just trying to catch Batman, he’s trying to figure out he is. And his guesses might surprise you. Gordon is smart, intuitive, and strong. Batman didn’t just pick a guy off the force to be his comrade. He picked the best.
And this comic just keeps reminding you of that.
Over and over again.