I never really got into Year One. I know it's an important Batman comic and it's good. But there's something about it that bores me. I may be crazy, but that's just my gut instinct. I feel the same way about the animated movie adaption. I always got the impression people always said Year One was the best Batman comic ever because they were expected to say that. I know people could say the same thing about TDK Returns, but I just think there's better stories out there with better action and plot beats. Year One isn't bad. I just find it dull. And I generally prefer endings over beginnings. It's more dramatic.
There's a decent foundation being built with Year One. I think of Year One as more of a mission statement than an actual story. "This is the type of stuff we'll be doing from now on. Pretty cool, huh?"
The thing that always bothered me about Year One is a little bit pedestrian in nature, really. It doesn't have a lot of Batman in it. TDKR has lots of Batman running around and kicking everything that even looks like an ass. But Year One has a lot of subplots and intrigue about issues frankly I don't care about. Meanwhile, Mazuchelli's art doesn't feature as much Batman as it should.
As a story, it's a bit disjointed. Bruce is a rube who disguises himself as a crazy war vet and gets the crap beaten out of him. Later, he's a rube dressed in a Batman outfit and gets the crap beaten out of him by burglars. Later, he's BATMAN
, he bombs that mansion and scares the fertilizer out of Gotham's 1%.
In retrospect, I kind of wish Year One had been more of a starting point than a general framework. The issues which followed Year One more or less picked up where the issues prior to Year One left off.
But suppose the next issues told the story about Batman's first encounter with the Joker and then organically built Batman's universe from there? What if, rather than having Batman be "up to speed" following Year One, some time was invested on properly building out his world? What if Year One had been a proper reboot rather than a kind of sloppy retcon?
I enjoy Year One as much as the next guy, I guess, but I doubt it's even in my top 10 of Batman stories. Or, if it is, it's as part of that Year One/Long Halloween/Dark Victory oeuvre rather than standing on its own.