Collected Editions: Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank
A couple of years ago DC Comics released Superman: Earth One, an original graphic novel that told a modern version of the Superman story. While it was not well received by as many as DC would have liked, there was no doubt that the release was a success as it appeared on many best-seller lists. So it makes sense that now, with the Dark Knight Rises soon to hit theaters, that DC would try to capture success a second time with a Batman graphic novel. Batman: Earth does more than recapture Superman’s glory though, it far surpasses the original in quality and sets itself up to be one of the best re-imaginings of the character in years. Hopefully this will only be the first in a long line of Batman novels yet to come.
$elling Point: Firstly, this novel is completely original content. Secondly, that content is by the masterful duo of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank (More on them in a minute). However, this story is a very bold retelling of Batman’s early adventures. Those who have read Batman Year One and other adventures of the caped crusader may be taken aback at firs by how different people are at times, but as the novel concludes you realize it is a very sturdy and well thought out revamp of the characters.
Writing: Geoff Johns has seen much acclaim for his work on Flash, Superman, and Green Lantern. Despite this, he has not written a whole lot of Batman to speak of. He not only proves his understanding of the character is definite, but he manages to take the core traits of Bruce Wayne and Batman while changing the world around him to capture a similar feeling that never feels stale or too familiar.
Art: Gary Frank was Geoff Johns’s partner in crime for much of his Superman run and he takes the same sensibilities he had there and applies them to Batman for one of my favorite styles the character has had in a while. A few of the character designs really shine and I hope that Frank sticks around for any future novels because he manages to make this book incredibly unique (It helps that this is also his first significant Batman work).
Bonus Content: Unfortunately, I was very disappointed to find that there was not a single bonus feature included in this book. I’ve seen a bunch of sketches online of characters like Bruce and Alfred, but it would have been nice to see them put into the back of this collection. It’s an odd omission in an otherwise perfect release.
Overall: 9 out of 10. A great retelling of a familiar origin.