New graphic novel "Batman: Earth One" by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank
By Steve Long
Red Dirt Report, contributing writer
Posted: July 31, 2012
BOOK REVIEW: Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns (illustrations by Gary Frank) DC Comics 2012
"Not your daddy's Batman"
Geoff Johns’ Batman: Earth One takes us back to
square one with the introduction of the Dark Knight. This origin story, while
not nearly as dark or gritty as Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One from 1987, it still packs a punch worthy of the
Ever since this graphic novel was announced, I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival. The idea that DC’s Chief Creative Office, Geoff Johns, was going to re-boot Batman had me almost as excited about this book as awaiting the new Christopher Nolan movie, The Dark Knight Rises…almost.
Along the same lines as 2010’s Superman: Earth One (which I reviewed last year in February), this modern re-telling of the Batman story takes place in a completely different environment than the current “New 52” continuity.
You would think that as long as Batman has been around and as many times as his origin and story have been told and re-told, that there was no way to imagine someone attempting a fresh take on the subject matter. You could think that there would be no way that it could be done. But you would be wrong. Not since the aforementioned Batman: Year One has DC given such a great new approach to the classic character.
Johns brings new, modern interpretations to such characters as Alfred Pennyworth and Oswald Cobblepot, and even Batman/Bruce Wayne himself that breathe new life into the mythology.
Much like Christopher Nolan has done in his Batman films, Johns has attempted to inject an air of legitimacy, or reality, into the story. He writes the story in such a way that you can believe that this character, and the characters surrounding him, could actually happen. Johns writes the Batman character as if he is still a work in progress by showing his flaws and the mistakes he makes during his encounters.
One of the more interesting aspects to the story is the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Alfred. And even more so, the character Alfred himself is such an interesting character in this story, it makes you want to learn more about his life prior to his employment with the Wayne family. The relationship between Batman and James Gordon is also re-imagined and the way that Johns develops the Gordon character is outstanding.
The artwork was done by Gary Frank. Gary has illustrated many of DC’s marquee characters including Superman, Batman, Flash, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, as well as some work he has done with Marvel. The artwork in this book is no less than incredible. I love Frank’s version of the Batman costume. He brings humanity to the costume by disregarding the familiar white slits and actually drawing the character’s eyes behind the cowl. And the way he draws some of the other iconic Batman characters helps to bring that whole new perspective that Johns is trying to tell.
From beginning to end, this story should not disappoint current fans of Batman and is a suitable introduction into the story for new readers as well. Overall, Johns’ adaptation of the Batman saga is an amazing, well-written and exciting trip through Gotham City and into the minds and lives of some of its fascinating residents. This is a positively must read for Batman fans and non-fans alike.
Steve Long writes for The Otter Limits blog and is a contributor to Red Dirt Report. He lives in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Copyright 2012 Red Dirt Report