USER REVIEW: Batman Earth One Vol. 2

USER REVIEW: Batman Earth One Vol. 2

USER REVIEW: <i>Batman Earth One</i> Vol. 2

I don’t generally write reviews like this, but I just recently put down the second volume of Batman Earth One, written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank. I’ve got some time on my hands, so I’d just like to write something about it real quick.

Here’s a riddle for you: what’s clunky and heavy-handed, but endearing and undeniably clever?

 

If your answer was “Anything written by Geoff Johns,” you’re correct.

 

I don’t generally write reviews like this, but I just recently put down the second volume of Batman - Earth One, written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank. I’ve got some time on my hands, so I’d just like to write something about it real quick.

 

Earth One 1


So Batman - Earth One is the story about Bruce Wayne — we all know him. His parents get shot, boo-hoo-hoo, followed by lots of brooding in the dark and vows that he will become the vengeance of the night and shit like that. We’ve seen this story told a dozen times before.

 

The interesting thing about Earth One is that it takes elements of the Batman mythos and completely turns them on their head. 

 

Oh, so you thought it was some random street crime that killed the Waynes? Nope, it was part of some big conspiracy set in motion by the Penguin! Oh, you thought Alfred was some stuffy Englishman from the richest part of London? Nope, he’s a cockney badass with a chip on his shoulder and a paramilitary history!

 

It’s things like this that set Earth One apart from other Batman stories like Year One and The Long Halloween, even though it covers a lot of the same plot beats. One of the best things Geoff Johns does is that he deliberately chooses to avoid diving headfirst into familiar waters. 

 

For example, this book deals with Batman actually learning how to be a detective, rather than simply being a detective by default. He learns that he should probably put body armor in his costume, and that he’s going to someday probably maybe need a car. Some people might be put-off by the idea of Batman not being Gary-Stu the Bat-God — but to me, this portrayal of Batman is interesting. I like seeing him screw up, because it gives him an opportunity to grow.
 

Earth One 2


What can I really say about Gary Frank’s artwork? It’s great. One of the best things about Johns is that he frequently teams up with some of the best artists in the business — Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver, and Jason Fabok, just to name a few. Gary Frank can definitely be listed among those names.

 

One of Frank’s strong suits is in drawing expressive faces, and Johns gives him plenty of opportunity to test his skills. Inker Jon Sibal does an excellent job painting thick, high-contrast, Frank Miller-esque shadows across Gotham; and of course, the book wouldn’t be complete without Brad Anderson’s mix of ashy, muted colors.

 

Earth One 3


All in all, the book is good. Not great. Not spectacular. Not bad either. Just … good. 

 

The artwork is excellent all-around, and the story has just enough interesting twists to make you interested in reading further — the villains in particular bring some welcome surprises. I’m not going to spoil what Johns does with Two-Face, but it’s actually pretty clever.

 

Longtime Bat-fans might have complaints about the portrayal of the title character, but … you know, whatever. I’m not bothered by it.

 

Anyway, I don’t want to start rambling, so I think I’m done writing about this book. Pick it up if you have the money. It’s pretty enjoyable.

Thanks for reading.

 

4 stars
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