Grizzly Graphic Novel Review: Batman Earth One

By now there have been so many different versions of Batman I wasn’t sure they could really do another variation of the Dark Knight. There’s old Dark Knight Returns Batman, vampire Batman, the ‘Goddamn Batman’ and a whole slew of others. Batman: Earth One introduces us to yet another version of the caped crusader and with Geoff Johns writing. And here’s a big surprise, it kicked some ass. I’m not going to kiss John’s ass by saying he’s one of the best writers out there, and has won multiple awards for his writing or that he’s from Detroit… but I guess I did. Truth be told, there isn’t much this guy touches that isn’t a damned good read, and Batman: Earth One is no exception. Add the exceptional artwork done by Gary Frank and you’ve got a pretty stellar book. No it’s not a masterpiece, or the most unusual work of alternate Batman story, but it works just fine for a good read.

*Spoilers Follow*

Johns obviously drew from other stories like Year One, and even the Nolan Batman films for this re-imagining of the Batman mythos. The Waynes are still the richest M-Fers around Gotham, but this time around Thomas Wayne is running to be mayor of Gotham, and Martha Wayne is his campaign manager…. And her maiden name is Arkham. CRRRAAAAZZZZY. And I mean that in both terms of story, and that the Arkhams are usually effin’ nuts. As you know,  (Or don’t) Martha’s maiden name in the DC universe we know is Kane, of the wealthy Kane Chemical Company. The Arkhams appear to have had a hand in building the city of Gotham in this story, with the Waynes as their financiers. I imagine they could do some pretty interesting stuff with the story and Bruce Wayne having ties to the Arkham family, but we’ll definitely have to wait for a sequel to see anything linked to that.

Watch Batman fail epically in this graphic novel!

Speaking of Bruce Wayne, remember that sweet little innocent kid portrayed in the movies and the comics at times? Well not this time around, the kid is actually quite the little shit and really has a sense of self entitlement going for him in the beginning of the book. He is of course humbled by the murdering of his parents right before his very eyes, and no child should have bear the brunt of something like that. Well, except maybe Joffrey from Game of Thrones, because he is an unforgivable bastard. Bruce and Alfred don’t know one another at all in the start of the story, and their relationship is somewhat strained throughout from everything we’ve seen before. The Alfred angle is similar to the Nolan Batman movies, but Johns is able to make the character his own in several ways. I’ll be interested in seeing where the story goes in regards to them. Let me just say… Alfred is definitely not a butler in this one….but he definitely serves people with ass whoopings!

Alfred isn’t the only character that has undergone some changes in this story. Plenty of characters are given a face shift, as I like to call it, including Harvey Bullock, Commissioner Gordon and even Harvey Dent in a vague way. They are each different in their own subtle ways and as I’ve said before there is so much that can be done with them in a volume of this new adventure for Gotham City.

The story featured a version of one of the Gotham Rogues that is a little more grounded in reality than he is used to in the comics, once again Johns going for the Nolan angle. The end gives us a glimpse at the next possible foe for Bats to throw down against and it looks like to be off to a good start. I’m wondering if we’ll see more than two villains in the next volume and better yet another original villain. The Birthday Boy was definitely an original villain though not very multi-faceted… and yes that is a terrible name but just give him a chance, it’s not so bad.


Batman Earth One is a damn good read, though that also means that it’s a quick one at only 144 pages. The book isn’t something that will knock your socks, but it’s something new for the Dark Knight that will definitely entertain and leave you wanting a bit more. One thing that strikes me as odd is that with the Earth One Batman, the costume shows his eyes instead of being white like in every other comic. To me this adds a bit of mortality to the character, showing that he is only human and not yet built up to his legendary status like he is in the DC universe we all know and love. Maybe after having a few more notches under his belt we’ll see the white eyes come back. But then again, the eyes showing cowl hasn’t been this cool since Adam West donned the suit…. (That’s debatable of course.)

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