Monday, July 09, 2012

Review - Batman: Earth One

Almost years ago, DC Comics teamed writers J. Michael Straczynski and artist Shane Davis together to create Superman: Earth One, a contemporary take on the Superman legend. Now, with DC golden boy scribe Geoff Johns and powerhouse artist Gary Frank, they have released Batman: Earth One.


Batman: Earth One covers the early days of Bruce Wayne's venture in to vigilante business. But what's unique about the story is what they do to the more secondary characters in the world of Batman. Two particular examples are Alfred Pennyworth and Detective Harvey Bullock. Pennyworth is brought to the States by Thomas Wayne as head of security during his mayoral campaign. In this alternate world, the two were war buddies and Wayne trusts Pennyworth with his life. Bullock, who's an overweight drunk in the main Batman universe, is a hotshot Detective who, here's the kicker, was the host of his own television reality show for five seasons: Hollywood Detectives.

What's interesting is that while these two characters begin as polar opposites of who they are in the mainstream universe, Johns creates a gradual transition for their characters throughout the novel. You can see what chain of events lead them to what they become when the story comes to an end. Geoff Johns has a knack for developing obscure characters and making them cool again.

Then there's Bruce Wayne. Earth One Batman is a cocky kid who's pissed off at the world. He lacks the depth and control that the mainstream Batman has, and everyone knows it. This Batman screws up more than he is successful. He's angry that his parents were killed and he's looking to lash out at the world. But by the end of the story, you get a better sense that he'll eventually become the Batman we all know.

Gary Frank, mostly associated with his Superman work, is a phenomenal artist and delivers dynamic illustrations that engage the readers just as much, if not more, than the story. I bet if there wasn't any dialogue, you could still piece together a great story just from the pencils alone.

Rating: 4/5

Definitely something to pick up.

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