Batman: Year Two: Fear the Reaper

    (DC, 2002)
™ and © DC Comics and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Chosen to chronicle the second year of Batman’s career, writer Chuck Dixon readily admits that he intentionally took a different tone than the street-level realism of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. Dixon thought it would be a good contrast to bring back some of the more traditional elements of the Batman mythos. To that end he created The Reaper, who terrorized Gotham’s underworld twenty years ago.

The Reaper miraculously reappears and resumes his bloody, fatal practices on all those he deems guilty. In response Gotham City’s organized crime element hires an outside hitman to neutralize The Reaper just as Batman strikes an uneasy truce with them for the same reason. The mob boss insists that Batman and their hired gun work together, an arrangement that the hitman finds agreeable, if not amusing. Batman on the other hand, is less sanguine since he recognizes the man as the mugger who murdered his parents, Joe Chill. Batman vows to settle matters with Chill when the partnership is over, but The Reaper has a role to play in this dynamic.

Also included in this reprint volume is the prestige format one-shot, Full Circle, in which The Reaper seemingly returns as well as Joe Chill’s son, who was a heretofore unknown witness to the events of Year Two.

Unfortunately for continuity devotees, the events of DC’s Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, reduces the significance of these stories since, as result of the crisis, the murderer of Bruce Wayne’s parents has been relegated to an unknown mystery man.

— George Haberberger

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 Collects series from Batman, Detective ComicsMike W. BarrAlan Davis, Todd McFarlane