Batman Year One
This graphic novel tracks the first year of Batman as he tries to deal with Gotham criminals whilst contending with a corrupt police force.
The book begins with the arrival of Jim Gordon who has just transferred to Gotham, mirrored by the arrival of Bruce Wayne after many years away and tracks their progress as they find their feet in Gotham in their respective roles.
The rest of the book reflects this narrative throughout, running the two character story lines side-by-side and occasionally bringing them together developing the story further as Bruce tries to figure out who to approach in the police as an ally.
I was surprised by Jim Gordon's character in this book. Having never really read a Batman comic before, I was used to the Jim Gordon we see on TV, at the later end of middle age, the commissioner and not much of action type. In this he's shown to be trained in combat and a lot more aggressive towards the corrupt cops that surround him.
After reading this, you really get an idea of where Christopher Nolan got his inspiration for Batman Begins, but I think I prefer this story because it takes a lot more time and work for the partnership between Wayne and Gordon that we're all familiar with to form. While I love what Nolan has done with his Batman series (and am eagerly awaiting the final installment) I just think this one has that little extra sense of realism.