This is one of those stories that, in any other hands, I’d be dreading. But it sounds like it might end up just right.
Warner Home Video has announced plans to produce an animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s iconic, classic graphic novel Batman: Year One. Pretty much any comic book fan — particularly Batman readers — will tell you that Year One is not only one of the best Batman stories of all time, but it’s also one of the best comics of all time. It’s a gritty origin story that uses the well-known Batman history, but tells it in an absolutely compelling manner. Here’s DC Comics’ official synopsis:
A young Bruce Wayne has spent his adolescence and early adulthood, traveling the world so he could hone his body and mind into the perfect fighting and investigative machine. But now as he returns to Gotham City, he must find a way to focus his passion and bring justice to his city. Retracing Batman’s first attempts to fight injustice as a costumed vigilante, we watch as he chooses a guise of a giant bat, creates an early bond with a young Lieutenant James Gordon, inadvertently plays a role in the birth of Catwoman, and helps to bring down a corrupt political system that infests Gotham.
The story was also used (in parts) by Christopher Nolan in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and is notable for its excellent depiction of Jim Gordon’s history and relationship with Batman. Why then am I excited for this new adaptation? Well, for starters, with the exception of the tepid Green Lantern: First Flight, DC Universe Animated Original Movies has pretty much knocked all of their productions out of the park. Year One will be directed by Sam Liu, who directed the excellent Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and Batman/Superman: Public Enemies. Both direct-to-video films were the sort of darker animated fare that’s made DC’s productions so successful, which makes this news promising. Additionally, despite their lack of mainstream popularity, animated films are frequently the best way to adapt some comic books.
No word on when it will be released — DC Animated has a pretty full production slate right now, with Batman: Under the Red Hood and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse scheduled for this year, and an as of yet untitled Green Lantern film set to release in 2011.