This week’s classic graphic novel pick is Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, DC Comics. Batman’s origin is one that has been retold constantly with DC playing around with the character’s continuity but Batman: Year One still holds up as one of the most elegant and sophisticated retellings. Here we see a young Inspector Gordon come to Gotham, trying to rise above the stink of corruption while Bruce Wayne is still finding his feet as the Dark Knight Detective. Mazzucchelli is a magnificent artist and, like he did on Daredevil: Born Again, here his European-infused art brings Gotham and its denizens to life with a sophistication that’s been rarely matched since. As an artist, he is able to tackle action sequences like the one where Batman stops a group of young thieves intent on plundering someone’s flat with the same flair as more emotional scenes like Jim Gordon agonising over his affair with fellow cop Sarah Essen. He is the perfect foil for Miller’s muscular script. There is a graphic simplicity to the work here, aided by colourist Richmond Lewis, that gives the story room to breathe. Clocking in at less than 100 pages, Miller and Mazzucchelli, with Lewis, pack more dramatic punch in this short arc than many titles manage in a whole year. Batman: Year One, nearly thirty years after it was first published, is still a work of true genius and the high watermark that every Batman genesis tale is measured against.