Batman: Earth One

“Geoff Johns writing a Batman book?! This is going to be great!” That was the approximate quote from everyone when “Batman: Earth One” was announced. There was a lot riding on it and it had to live up to even more than that. This line of original graphic novels DC is putting out is a big risk. “Superman: Earth One” was a surprise treat but this was the one people were clamoring for. I’m happy to state, it not only lives up to but crushes the hype.

We all know the origin of Batman. Who doesn’t? But Johns does just the right amount of tweaking and originality to pull you in. The book throws a lot at you, very fast. I admit one of the biggest reasons I read books like this is to see how characters are changed. “Batman: Earth One” does not shy away from that department. We get a ton of characters throughout the book setting up sequel after sequel. From characters similar to their DCU counterparts like Barbra Gordon to dramatic changes like Harvey Bullock and Alfred. Yes, Alfred has a very dramatic change. But its not bad. It’s brilliantly done. This isn’t anything to be weary of. Johns has taken the entire Batman mythos and played with it to a point you don’t know where it’s going and then changes it again.

Three high points that have to be brought up. First is his use of the Penguin. Penguin has always been that villain with flashes of greatness. He could be that mob boss that is completely frightening and intimidating but he’s always ended up being a joke and worse, Batman’s informant. Earth One has the Penguin that we’ve been waiting for. Ruthless and horrible. A scary and powerful man with no scruples. Bravo on Johns. Next is the creation of a new terrifying bad guy. A great, awful, person with a twisted motivation. I’d love to read more with this character but unless there’s going to be a monthly that probably won’t happen. Finally, and I won’t give away too much, what they do with Arkham. That’s all that’ll be said because it’s very cool.

DC knew how to execute these books. Big debuts with A-list talent. Johns doing Batman proves he can write them all. Lest we forget the gorgeous art of Gark Frank. Johns and Frank have collaborated many times on phenomenal books and this might be their best. Frank puts in, what I consider, his best work ever. Everything is stunningly beautiful. From little panels to the splash pages to building details. Everything about “Batman: Earth One” is done right. It defines right. It makes right itself go “what am I doing wrong.” That’s how right Earth One is.