Batman: Year One

Bruce Wayne was a one-man army with the world's greatest detective skills and the dream of striking fear in criminals' hearts. How he went from orphaned playboy to Dark Knight was the basis of a classic 1987 comic book by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli, and is now retold in the faithfully hard-hitting animated film Batman: Year One, which goes on sale today on DVD, Blu-ray, digital download and on demand.

Featuring the voice talents of Southland's Ben McKenzie in the title role and Emmy winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) as grizzled cop James Gordon, Year One explores how these two valiant but troubled men battle internal and external demons as they form an uneasy alliance in their bid to clean up Gotham City. As the story begins, Gordon and his pregnant wife have just moved to Gotham, while Wayne has returned to town after spending years abroad studying martial arts. Searching for a way to fight evil from the shadows, he finds his calling and his inspiration when a bat flies through a window at Wayne Manor. "He's a bit damaged," McKenzie says of his character. "But this is the way he chooses to try to find some sense of justice in a fundamentally unjust world. He's a bit battered and scarred, but in a sense that makes him stronger."

While Batman tries to take down crime boss Carmine "The Roman" Falcone, Gordon takes on corruption within the police force — as well as his own shortcomings when he gets too chummy with a pretty fellow cop (voiced by Katee Sackhoff). Meanwhile, tough-as-nails lady of the evening Selina Kyle (Eliza Dushku), infuriated by the new bat in town, makes her debut as Catwoman. (Dushku also stars in a Catwoman short film that's included on the DVD.) "It's actually a very intimate story," explains executive producer Bruce Timm. "It's more about street-level crime. There's very little larger-than-life stuff in it. There's no Batcave, no Batmobile, no Bat-signal. This is much more down-to-earth, very naturalistic."

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