Batman: Year One is a four-issue story arc, by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, of the regular Batman title (issues 404 through 407), published in 1987 by DC Comics. Critically acclaimed, it is considered one of the best Batman stories ever made.The storyline follows the first year Batman begins to operate in Gotham from his disastrous first attempt in Gotham's red light district, to the battles with crime lords and corrupt cops alike, and even the first appearance of other people in tights and masks in Gotham. It also has (in Batman #404) the first appearances of mob boss Carmine "The Roman" Falcone, who would go on to have prominent roles in The Long Halloween and Batman Begins, and Catwoman's protegee Holly Robinson, who would later become the second Catwoman.Batman: Year One is unique in the following: It was deemed the official origin story for Batman Post Crisis, and to this day is still canon. Also, Miller stated that it takes place several years before Batman The Dark Knight Returns, which is not part of the mainstream canon. In Miller's version of Batman, Year One is followed up by All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder, which takes place during Batman's third year.There is now an Animated Adaptation that is almost word-for-word.
Adaptation Expansion: The film expands or completely adds a few scenes and makes things the comic left subtle a bit more obvious. The biggest example is a scene demonstrating that the girl Bruce had over during the Gordons' visit was simply The Beard working for $5000.
Amazon Chaser: Gordon notes that Essen's "arms are strong. Her whole body's strong."
Author Appeal: Catwoman starts out as a prostitute. Yup, it's a Frank Miller comic, alright. Distressingly, Holly is also one, and she's only thirteen, if that.
This is one of the few parts of the book that has NOT remained in continuity, and was made so almost immediately. However, retcon over retcon has actually led it to be the foundation of her post-Crisis character in certain ways.
Ax Crazy: Branden and the GCPD SWAT team. They once put down a riot in Gotham's Not-Central-Park. Didn't even leave the statues standing. Their SOP seems to be: kill everything with fire.
Badass Boast: Batman's speech while he's "convincing" Skeevers to testify against Detective Flass.
Batman: You can never escape me. Bullets don't harm me. Nothing harms me. But I know pain. I know pain. Sometimes I share it... With someone like you.
Batman: Ladies. Gentlemen. You have eaten well. You've eaten Gotham's wealth. Its spirit. Your feast is nearly over. From this moment on - none of you are safe.
Gordon deserves special mention as well:
Gordon (internal monologue): He's had Green Beret training. It's been a while since I had to take out a Green Beret. *tosses Flass a baseball bat* Figure I should give him a handicap.
Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: At the start of the story, Gotham Police Department is made entirely of these, from the Commissioner on down. Lieutenant Gordon and his team seem to be the only cops who are doing what they're supposed to be doing...
Batter Up: Gordon gets ambushed by a group of dirty cops who beat him too a pulp with baseball bats. Later on, Gordon confronts Flass with a bat of his own... but instead of attacking him with it, he tosses it to him and kicks his ass bare handed.
In a poor attempt to act affable, Flass gets rid of a frail Buddhist monk who's nagging Gordon for donations by picking up the monk by the collar and tossing him aside like a rag-doll. He also beats up a kid allegedly to disarm him of a switchblade. It's a comb.
Not to mention Loeb's decision to try to corral Batman... by firebombing a building full of winos.
There also a near-literal example, combined with a Pet the Dog for Batman. SWAT agent Pratt gets annoyed and tries to shoot the cat used as a Cat Scare. Not much later, Batman punches him through a wall over it.
The Mafia: Since this is Batman's first year out, none of his iconic Rogues Gallery has shown up yet. Thus, these guys take the role of the bad guys.
Mythology Gag: The title of the first chapter: "Who I Am and How I Came to Be" is a reference to the title of the original Batman origin story: "The Legend of the Batman: Who He Is and How He Came to Be".
Neck Snap: Catwoman does this to a random mook using her legs, which is somewhat of a character violation as in the modern-day comics Catwoman almost never kills.
Smoking Is Cool: Ironically, the corrupt Detective Flass and Commissioner Loeb seem to be the only cops that don't smoke.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Though a well loved series, one common complaint is that the book feels more like "Gordon: Year One" than "Batman: Year One". Indeed, his story makes up the bulk of the comic, and he certainly steals the show. That said, his story is hardly bad by any means.
Supporting Protagonist: Especially in the film, Jim Gordon comes across as the true main character of the story, even being the first in the end credits, than the title character who is shown more as a supporting character.
Super Hero Origin: The point of the story is to show off the origins of Batman, Gordon, and Catwoman, although the last was quickly retconned.
Switching P.O.V.: The arrival of Gordon and Bruce to Gotham, in the begining of the story. Gordon arrives in train, and thinks he should have taken a plane... and Bruce arrives in plane, and thinks he should have taken the train.
Talkative Loon: Albert Blume, a paranoid schizophrenic who holds three children hostage in chapter two.
Blume:Spider nasty don't noise it—no lunch. No lunch.
To Be Lawful or Good: Gordon struggles with the fact that he should be pursuing the obviously righteous Batman, who is, on paper, a criminal.
Holly: Selina! Things are blowing up near the park!
Selina: Maybe Branden's cornered a jaywalker.
Unreliable Voiceover: In chapter two, Flass is narrating the story while Batman attacks him for taking money from drug dealers. Naturally, what he says and what happens are polar opposites. When Gordon beats him up earlier in Chapter 1, he thinks that said cop will doubtless make up a story about twenty attackers and never admit the truth.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Bruce's first night home to Gotham, he patrols the streets "just for recon". It quickly turns into an epic screw-up where the prostitutes he thinks he's protecting attack him, the cops shoot him without question, and he nearly bleeds to death.
But it teaches him that he needs to instill fear into the hearts of criminals, who are a cowardly and superstitious lot...
And then his first foray as Batman - stopping a trio of burglars - he nearly screws that up as well (one very almost fell to his death). Then again, this is an origin story: He has to start learning how to be The Batman...
It culminates in his saving an old lady from an oncoming truck. This leads him to get trapped in an abandoned building where he only narrowly manages to escape. After that Batman decides it's time to stop screwing up.
Would Hit a Girl: Bruce shows no hesitance in laying punches on Selena when she attacks him.
Verbal Tic: Holly tends to whinily emphasize single syllables.
Commissioner Loeb also has a habit of answering his own rhetorical questions and reinforcing his own statements, yes he does.
Your Cheating Heart: Gordon cheats on his wife Barbara with his partner, Det. Sarah Essen. Both know it's wrong, so Sarah requests a transfer to another city, and Jim eventually confesses to Barbara, vowing to work on their relationship. Also, Commissioner Loeb tries to blackmail Jim into "playing nice" by showing him pictures of the affair and later calling Barbara to tell on him. (By then, Jim has confessed, and Barbara quickly blows them off. This results in Loeb taking drastic measures.).