By Troy-Jeffrey Allen
July 4, 2012 - 18:04
But who is it for? As I read Batman: Earth One I couldn’t help but continuously wonder exactly that.
Writer Geoff Johns (with some wonderfully emotive art by Gary Frank) does a lot to expand upon Bill Finger’s 1939 origin story. Characters from various periods in Batman’s 73-year mythos come together to make the all-too-familiar death of Bruce Wayne’s parents feel more like a saga. In particular, the characters of Harvey Bullock and a cowardly Commissioner Gordon push the story along. The pair is forced to partner up and turn a blind eye to the streets of Gotham. It ends up being the most intriguing aspect in an artful yet subordinate piece of work.
And where is the Batman? He’s doing pretty much what he’s done in Batman: Year One, Arkham City, Batman: The Mask of Phantasm, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Killing Joke, and even the Adam West series: He’s dressing up like a rodent and kicking the shit out of crime. Pretty much business as usual.
So, who is this speechifying piece of overcompensation for? Most of the non-comic reading world knows Batman’s origin --- most recently, thanks to Christopher Nolan’s contributions. As for the rest of us that frequent Wednesday’s new issue rack, we could recite Batman’s origin panel for panel and balloon for caption.
Is Batman: Earth One for potential new readers? DC will say it is, but considering how long of a gap there was between the Superman: Earth One book 1 and the as yet to be released book 2, what’s to stop a virginal comic nerds from filling that void with one of the “New 52” titles and abandoning Earth One (then again, maybe that’s the point)? Also --- let’s be honest here --- Christopher Nolan just did it in a medium that will reach a larger number of people.
No, the truth is Batman: Earth One is for DC. An attempt to cash in on that upcoming Dark Knight Rises movie that bares little resemblance to the comics at all.
Will it work? Yeah, it will in transitory way. Then they will
forget about it much like Marvel forgot about the Ultimate line and DC forgot
about the All-Star line. DC will get a significant sales bump for a few weeks
and the reader will be left wondering what happened. Meanwhile, the big two
will continue to concoct new ways to explain why their superheroes work, never
accepting the fact that they work simply because they are awesome.
Rating: 6 /10