Friday, February 15, 2013


I recently read BATMAN: EARTH ONE . It's an original hardcover graphic novel published by DC Comics. The script is by Geoff Johns, one of DC's top writers, with art by Gary Frank. It's the first Batman story in DC's ambitious "Earth One" series which aims to present new iterations of their classic flagship characters. There have already been two SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE volumes published. Here's my two sentence review:

Everything is different.
Everything is the same.

Allow me to elaborate. In this version, Bruce Wayne is just starting out on his quest for vengeance as Batman. He's aided by a new version of Alfred. Here the esteemed and venerable butler is re-imagined as an ex-solider of fortune who served alongside Bruce's father, Thomas Wayne, in various military campaigns. This Alfred is tough-as-nails and he administers a take-no-prisoners attitude in training Bruce to be a crime-fighter.

The Waynes still meet their death outside of a movie theater but this time, it's a political assassination engineered by Gotham's corrupt mayor, one Oswald Cobblepot (aka The Penguin). James Gordon is a detective on the GCPD who's been blackmailed into looking the other way when certain crimes occur. His partner is Harvey Bullock, who is recast as a drop-dead handsome matinee idol reality television star instead of the slovenly character depicted in the regular continuity. 

Harvey Dent and his twin sister work for the District Attorney's office and Barbara Gordon is a librarian who will become Batgirl based on events in the story. There's no Robin, Dick Grayson or otherwise, the Scarecrow is revamped as a masked, bulked up serial killer named The Birthday Boy and there's a  shadowy glimpse of The Riddler on the last page. 

In short, this is just a tricked-up, hardcover, expensive version of an Imaginary Story. Nothing really different happens in this version. At the end of the day, Bruce Wayne is still Batman. Some of the supporting characters are slightly different but none of the basic dynamics of the mythos are radically changed. 

One word about Gary Frank's artwork. Is it just me, or do all of the men (Bruce, Alfred, everybody) bear a striking facial resemblance to actor Christian Bale from the recent BATMAN films? 

BATMAN: EARTH ONE has a mediocre script and acceptable art. I can't really recommend it to anyone unless they're a die-hard Bat-fan.

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