Detective Comics #575-578 in 1987 was a four part storyline that ran as Batman: Year Two written by Mike Barr and illustrated by Alan Davis, Paul Neary, Alfredo Alcala, Mark Farmer and Todd McFarlane (yes the creator of Spawn.) It was meant to be written as a sequel to Frank Miller’s Year One, but never achieved that sort of success. It was eventually taken out of cannon in favor of Batman: The Long Halloween as an early adventure for The Dark Knight. It was followed-up later with the one-shot Full Circle in 1991 also by Mike Barr and illustrated by Alan Davis.
Batman: Year Two
Gotham City is celebrating the disappearance of the violent vigilante The Reaper, meanwhile newly appointed Commissioner Gordon is weary of the new man in a mask, Batman. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne meets the lovely aspiring nun Rachel Caspian through Dr. Leslie Thompkins, who’s organizing a charity benefit. Bruce and Rachel quickly form a romantic attachment. Rachel’s father Judson Caspian arrives in Gotham to help with charity.
After meeting, Bruce, Judson goes for a walk through the city. Soon, it is discovered that he is The Reaper and after seeing Gotham’s state of crime, he turns back into the violent masked man. His exploits soon leads to the death of civilians and a clash with Batman. Meanwhile, Gordon thinks it is Batman who is endangering innocents.
This forces Batman to make a temporary alliance with Gotham’s mafia, who chose the gangster Joe Chill as its representative. Batman desires to kill Joe Chill as he is the one who murdered his parents, but puts that aside to end The Reaper. With the police, the Mafia, and the Reaper on his tail, Batman begins questioning what it means to be the Guardian of Gotham.
Years later, Batman is training Dick Grayson as his sidekick Robin. He has put the events behind him, but soon a new version of The Reaper starts stalking criminals, leading to the deaths of innocent civilians. Batman is soon dealing with the emotional fallout of dealing with this new Reaper. He tracks down Rachel Caspian to warn her of The Reaper’s return, much to Dr. Thompkins’ chagrin.
Year Two and Full Circle had a lot of potential, but it falls short on a couple of levels. In the former, though Batman is new, Gordon just assumes that The Reaper is Batman even though it is not his previous MO and there was no escalation. In the later, it seemed a bit of a stretch with some of the characters who just happened to be never mentioned and then pop out of nowhere.
That being said, Barr does a good job of crafting a rookie Dark Knight who is still new to the war on crime and later, as a mentor who is having trouble admitting to his young sidekick the emotional baggage of taking down The Reaper.
That is my review. What did you think? Let me know in the comments below and tell me if there’s a graphic novel you’d like me to review. Check out my review of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 1. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.