Batman: Year One is a four issue story arc written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, that originally appeared in issues #404 to #407 of DC Comics' Batman series in 1987. Batman: Year One is one of the "must read" Batman comics, and is also one of the first examples of the "limited series" format (or self contained series within a series) that is now common place in most main stream comics. Batman: Year One is also the story arc that inspired a lot of the key plot points for the film Batman Begins, and there is a clear link between the gritty style portrayed in both Year One and the film.

Batman: Year One begins with the return of Bruce Wayne. Having left Gotham city 15 years ago, following the death of his parents, it appears that Bruce Wayne has spent his time away training in martial arts as well as forensic and criminal sciences. Jim Gordon is also moving back to Gotham City, with his pregnant wife Barbara. It doesn't take Gordon long to figure out that law enforcement in Gotham is not everything that it should be. Corruption has spread to the highest levels.

Bruce Wayne, yet to adopt the Batman persona, hits the street for his first mission, creating an alibi and disguising his appearance before entering the Red Light District of Gotham. Following an altercation with a local with a local pimp, and a brief fight with a dominitrix called Seline Kyle (who will go on to become Catwoman), Bruce Wayne is shot by police. Managing to escape and make his way back to Wayne Manor, Bruce sits alone, bleeding, and wondering whether it's worth going on. Searching for a flash of inspiration, and a way to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies, a bat crashes through a nearby window and lands on a sculpture of his father. "Yes Father, I will become a bat". Batman is born. » Read the rest of the entry..

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a mini-series written and drawn by Frank Miller and published by in four issues by between February and June of 1986.

Don't get Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (DKR) confused with the 2008 Dark Knight movie. They are two distinctly different tales. DKR is set twenty years into an alternate future in which superheroes are strangely absent, and super-villians are either jailed or dead. Ordinary criminals now fill the void, and a gang known as the "Mutants" are holding Gotham City to ransom.

Batman has not been seen for ten years following the death of the second incarnation of Robin (Jason Todd). Bruce Wayne, whilst battling a drinking problem, is still a rich man. We learn that for years he has been funding the rehabilitation of Harvey Dent, to the point where "Two-Face" seems to have disappeared, and Harvey Dent is released back out into society. When Dent returns to crime, Batman is forced out of retirement. After recapturing Dent, Batman then goes after the mutants, defeating their leader, and fuelling the media's obsession with the re-emergence of the Dark Knight.
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