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‘Batman: Earth One’ Review


Batman Earth OneBatman begins . . . again.

Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank tackles the origins of the Dark Knight. But, wait! Hasn’t this been done before? Sure.

I remember being in the sixth grade in jean shorts and reading Batman: Year One for the first time. Wow, that was a long time ago. Come on, not that long ago, right? I’m still young, right? I don’t know, maybe just young at heart.
At least there’s one thing I am sure of, and that is that Frank Miller’s magnificent storytelling made me the uber Batman fan I am today.  

Like many, I find myself rereading Year One occasionally, so that I can relive why I think Batman is amazing. He’s human! No super powers, just flesh and blood. Frank Miller does a superb job of highlighting this fact by taking you on a very real ride through the struggles and missteps of Bruce Wayne as he is learning how to become Gotham’s great protector.

So, why is it okay to call for a rewrite on the origin story that put Batman on the map and paved the way for many more great Batman arcs?

Because in the right hands, it could be a breathtaking, jaw dropping, newfangled experience that could revive your love for the caped crusader. And, guess what? We’re in luck! We’ve found just the perfect writer and penciler to take us on this new and unexpected journey.

Long-time collaborators Geoff Johns and Gary Frank team up to bring us a shocking new look into the first years of Bruce Wayne becoming the dark and gritty vigilante, Batman.

Before you read further, I must warn you, there are SPOILERS! But, I’ll try not to reveal too much.


First, Johns does what he does best, he makes the story his own. Although, he didn’t necessarily completely change the story as much as he drastically altered some of the staple characters that had served as supporting roles in the world around the Bat.

I’ll start with Alfred. In this reincarnation, he is not the polite, loyal butler that he has been in every other Batman story that’s been ever made. We see him now as an ex-soldier of the Royal Marines. In plain English . . . a complete bada– with a big, ol’ gun. And, he knows how to use it, too! He steps into the scene as an old friend of Thomas Wayne who is going to head up his security. But, the first day on the job proves to be life changing. Thomas and Martha Wayne are murdered in cold blood in front of little Bruce Wayne. (You know the story.) Well, from there, tough as nails Alfred is named the legal guardian of little Bruce. He is very reluctant to become a father figure to the traumatized boy but has no choice, because foster care would be no place for the billionaire soon-to-be prince of Gotham. Alfred later trains Bruce on various forms of hand-to-hand combat and acrobatics. (He pretty much trains him to mirror his bada–ery.)

Another notable character change is converting the once disgruntled, overweight Harvey Bullock into a pretty boy, head-in-the-clouds, naïve detective that is all Hollywood. His transformation throughout the story is actually one of the more astonishing regressions, as he becomes more of the jaded detective we know.

We also see Jim Gordon as a weary, disillusioned detective treading lightly and turning a blind eye in fear of pissing off mob bosses. But, towards the end, the moral and just Gordon we know starts to surface. Thank God!
The Penguin is now only known as Mayor Oswald Cobblepot. (I won’t reveal what tragedy he is behind.) Lucius Fox is a young and brilliant intern at Wayne Enterprises instead of an executive . . . but still very helpful. It’s revealed that Martha Wayne is in the Arkham family tree and lived in Arkham Manor as a child.

Yes, I know. These are very drastic changes. But, they are done tastefully and add tremendously to Earth One’s new perspective on a legendary story.

Gary Frank plays a significant role in the success of this project by bringing these early days of Batman alive with remarkable pencils. His fight sequences are real and believable. The angles he uses makes you believe that he is a knowledgeable fighter himself. He also reveals convincing emotions through facial expressions and body language.  Most notable examples are the telling emotions that are showcased on Harvey Bullock’s face throughout the panels, and the change in Batman’s costume by getting rid of the white slits that are normal to his cowl and showing his actual eyes. This brings humanity to the Bat. It shows that he is just man.

I must say the narrative is creative and engaging. Johns takes the classic, deep-rooted Dark Knight story and gives it a facelift and presents it in a beautiful package. But, it does lack one thing, though. The Batman/Gordon relationship! It is virtually non-existant. But, I’m going to give Johns the benefit of the doubt and trust that he will build a stronger dynamic between the two in Earth One Volume 2.

So, what’s the verdict?

Loved it! It’s a very well-told story with remarkable art. (I mean art so good that you forget to read the dialogue at times, because you’re too busy absorbing Frank’s use of vibrant colors and realistic action sequences.) I would recommend it to any Batman fan that is open to revisiting a fabled story with a fresh eye.

-Brit Sigh
 Impatiently waiting for Volume 2.



Brit Sigh, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor



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