Batman Earth One (Volume 1) by Geoff Johns

5s

“But I’m beginning to see Gotham has its beauty too.”

— Geoff Johns, Batman Earth One (Volume 1)

         Let’s get something out of the way. Sometimes, you just got to dive into a book without having expectations. Expectations are destructive and prone to send you reeling down deception and disappointment. It is true that one out a thousand times, expectations has you jittering, at the edge of your seat and ready to jump out of the comfort of your bed and sky-rocket through the concrete ceiling. This isn’t due to the fact that the author conveyed a story that met your expectations. It’s because they managed to surpass what you wished would happen and have you explode in happiness to the big surprise the book has gave you. Do you see what I see? The secret to a splendid read? It’s in having none to little expectations. Now friends from far lands on the world, be very wary about your level of expectations. It’s for your own good.

         It might come as a surprise, but we’re about to enter uncharted territories. A revamp of Batman’s debut story that however doesn’t score very high in my books is what we have with Batman Earth One (Volume 1). What we have in this story is a Bruce Wayne blinded by a unquenchable thirst for revenge. Revenge for the tragic story around his parents. Looked over by the great Alfred Pennyworth, Batman hunts for the individual responsible to tragedy while lending a helping hand in the apprehension of a villain that coincidentally stirs Bruce’s past. This series was written by the great Geoff Johns and the help of artist Gary Frank back in 2012. Only the beginning to plenty of volumes to come, Earth One knows as much praise as hate as it ventures in ideas that have created and set the foundation to the one and only man in the dark cowl and cape.

4s

“And I didn’t teach you how to fight so you could go on some insane crusade.”

— GEOFF JOHNS, BATMAN EARTH ONE (VOLUME 1)

         Here’s the thing. I opened this book with a lot excitement. My body was drenched with joy and I couldn’t wait to find out what Geoff Johns had in store for me. Taking on the origins of Batman and making it modern seemed like an absolutely brilliant idea. After all, comics have went a long way and so many things could be added and changed after the extraordinary storytelling avenues that other authors have managed to explore and exploit through the comic medium. However, what happened with Batman Earth One (Volume 1) was something along the lines of a slippery slope down rock-bottom. It had me questioning the very minds of the writers, then wondering if readers who enjoyed this volume had defective taste buds, only to then realize that I jumped into this book with the wrong mindset.

          Geoff Johns remains an amazing writer and could definitely add this series to his list of great works. The plot hovers around Bruce Wayne’s thirst for vengeance and his first missions as Batman. He’s on a tough learning curve as he lets his emotions steer his actions and has yet to understand how to deal with the scumbags in the streets of Gotham without putting himself and others in harm’s way. As he slowly tries to uncover the secrets behind the tragedy around his parents, the story also explores the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth. In fact, Alfred has been truly reimagined in this story as he portrays a character a lot more bad-ass than one would imagine of the tall, skinny and wise man we all love and enjoy seeing Batman getting lectured by. Although Alfred is embodied in a more physically strong and war-molded body, he keeps his wisdom and straight-forwardness. Batman Earth One (Volume 1) also investigates Bruce Wayne’s mother’s story a lot more than any other writer has ever done. This is truly appreciable since the mothers story has been more often than not scarcely mentioned. Fans know a lot more about the father, his surgeon history and his impact on Bruce Wayne.

1s

“This is Gotham City. The cops aren’t your allies. The people aren’t your friends. It’s everyone for themselves in this town. In this world. You can’t do it — because you aren’t willing to do everything you’re going to have to. You aren’t willing to sink down to Gotham’s level.”

— GEOFF JOHNS, BATMAN EARTH ONE (VOLUME 1)

         Several other characters are also developed and, some, had their personas changed drastically. Harvey Bullock knows his introduction in this volume and, boy, must I say that he was one character that shouldn’t have known this much change. In this volume, Bullock is poster face boy, starred in a TV show and has the personality of a rookie cop who’s never seen the real deal before. He plays the role of the innocent, yet dumb, character who learns the harsh realities of Gotham the hard way. On the other hand, you have James Gordon telling Bullock all his faults and lack of restraint in trying to rid Gotham of evil. Gordon plays the cop who’s been under the pressure of criminals thumbs and doesn’t dare to lift a finger on them. Until his values are challenged, push comes to shove and desperate times has him going for desperate measures. These two characters have interesting character development and Geoff Johns does a great job in exploring their chemistry. Yet, I felt that the original characters conveyed better messages than these revamped versions of them. Harvey Bullock was never admirable and enjoyable to hear or see. His attitude prompted more disgust than anything else from my part. What Gordon brought to Gotham city was far more remarkable in his initial origin story than in Batman Earth One. In fact, this brings me to realize that the foundation to Batman’s legacy was far more interesting and genuine than Earth One was able to look into. Although, I’ll still give credit to Geoff Johns and friends for their interesting approach to the Dark Knight. One thing I found unforgivable and despicable is Penguin’s progression in the story. His role in the story (in Gotham city) was quite interesting. However, the ending of the volume left me disgusted. You just can’t do something like that with a character that has so much background and potential in the Bat-verse.

         Absolutely beautiful and engaging. That fully characterizes the artwork in this volume. Gary Frank’s talents can be easily observed throughout the story. Gotham city has never looked like the deepest rock-bottom. Dark, shallow, depressing and hopeless. The artwork adds more thick and heavy layers to the greed, corruption and crime that roams the streets of Batman’s neighborhood. In fact, Bruce Wayne’s blinded fury and need to complete his vendetta are impressively accentuated by the artwork. The colors and the finesse in the penciling manages to put emphasis on the rage that consumes our beloved hero. The artwork also manages to portray every character uniquely and somehow easily represents the characters through their body language. I have to say that Harvey Bullock and Penguin were probably the two characters that conveyed mixed feelings in me. Bullock had a more cliche representation and irritated me in the type of character he was to be in this revamp story. While Penguin’s looks weren’t really satisfying. It felt like he was half of what he looked like in most storylines and half human. Yes, penguin never really looked human to me. That made him pretty scary and fascinating. Although the artwork still captures a good essence of the character through facial expression. Finally, some people have problems with Batman’s cowl and armor. I actually found it original and thought it added a little more realism to the superhero. In fact, another element noticed by a lot of readers is Batman’s eyes. As banal as that is, the change is quickly observable. I didn’t find too much problem in it, but I do believe it takes away some elements of fear in the character. Guess sometimes the answer isn’t always in the eyes. Have to show some kind of humanity in the man dressed in black.

3s

“Promise you’ll never go inside, okay? Bad things happened here.”

— GEOFF JOHNS, BATMAN EARTH ONE (VOLUME 1)

         Batman Earth One (Volume 1) is a robust attempt in transforming Batman’s origin story. Although Frank Miller’s origin story of Batman in Batman Year One was a magnificent story, Geoff Johns revamp story has its own set of innovations. It’s not easy to challenge a fairly well-anchored origin story in society and bring new perspectives to a superhero loved worldwide. One thing’s for sure, this volume is sure to entertain any newcomers to Batman’s universe and might however be controversial to some heights for other readers. What really marked me is that it didn’t have enough originality for what it was trying to bring to the table. Cliches were implemented here and there and that was sort of a turn-off (from the badass-ness of Alfred to Bullock’s personality).Poignant, startling, dark and beautiful, Batman Earth One (Volume 1) still deserves to be read. It definitely has my attention. I do plan on checking out the following volume and see where Earth One leads Batman. Earth One however doesn’t limit itself to Batman. The idea behind it is to revamp major DC Universe characters and reboot their origins stories; giving readers a new take on our favorite superheroes. If you haven’t already checked it, you should definitely read Superman Earth One as it’s first volume does a brilliant reimagination of the Man of Steel and his origin. Geoff Johns sure does know what he’s doing. At least for some comics.

2s

“Who else says he can’t be arrested? Who else is going to let this city be owned by the criminal scum that prey off it? Who else is a damn coward?”

— GEOFF JOHNS, BATMAN EARTH ONE (VOLUME 1)

        Gothamite! You must not forget to share your thoughts about this review and the comic, as well as like and follow us so we may continue to appreciate the countless Batman stories together. Was this a story that piqued your interest? You can purchase a copy of Batman Earth One (Volume 1) by clicking on this hyperlink !

My overall rating: ★★★☆☆/

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 11.24.49 PM

14 thoughts on “Batman Earth One (Volume 1) by Geoff Johns

  1. Kiruki says:

    Wow for someone who didn’t like it as much, you wrote a hell of a review >< ! I am personnally a fan of Batman, and I diguised myself at Batgirl for Halloween (⋈◍>◡<◍)。✧♡ Back to the subject ! Really thoughtful and dedicated too, you choose your words with preciseness and it's always a pleasure to read your work 🙂 ! ❤ がんばって ! ( GANBATTE) (๑˃̵ᴗ˂̵)و

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      What can I say, even if it came as a surprise, there’s still so much that could be said. After all, it is a volume that explores Batman’s origin in a completely new way. Thank you so much for taking the time to read the review and for sharing your thoughts with me, it really is appreciated. Your kinds words are truly heartwarming and there’s nothing like getting nice feedbacks from everyone !

      As for your costume.. Gee, so lucky to have been able to go out as Batgirl. I think the only times I’ll ever be wearing costumes are at the annual comiccons. Can’t wait for 2016’s edition ! 😀 😀

      Thanks again for stopping by, hope to see you again on our future reviews ! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Like

  2. Jimmy says:

    Buddy, it’s an amazing review you got there , you took a nice tonation but at the same time pointing out pertinent flaws on this one. I searched for a review on google and saw yours. I must admit that you are the one who still makes me want to read it without pushing hard on the readers to buy it ya know what I mean. – Jimmy Neutron (# I-dont-care-if-its-geek-but-I-love-this-nickname)

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Really happy that you landed on this review and enjoyed the read. Thank you so much for taking the time to read through it and for letting me know your thoughts about it. Your kind words are truly appreciated. Glad you didn’t feel that there was a pressure to buy the volume. Although I got to say that anything Batman related needs to be purchased (joke joke :D). Earth One Volume 1 has its flaws if you ask me, but it can also be enjoyed thoroughly. Hope you get the chance to read it yourself ! 😀 Thank you again for stopping by and I hope you’ll maybe come by for our future posts ! 😀

      P.S. Jimmy Neutron is a badass. Such an awesome childhood show.

      – Lashaan

      Like

  3. killkenny16 says:

    I distinctly remember finishing this book, setting it aside, thinking to myself “Wow, that was a solid, interesting re-imagining. Much better than Superman: Earth One. Geoff Johns continues to be a great writer, and Alfred is a badass. I will never pick this book up again.”

    It’s not that it’s even that bad. In my opinion, it’s just kind of forgettable, which is a shame, because it has some really good ideas scattered throughout.

    (P.S. Are you planning on reviewing The Dark Knight Strikes Again if you haven’t already? Because I’m treating myself to re-reading it, and it’s so wonderfully, insanely awful that I feel more people need to read it. Just so they know the opposite of what they should do when writing Batman)

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Totally agree. It definitely isn’t a memorable story and it sure did have great ideas sprinkled around the plot. Sadly, they weren’t explored further. I have yet to read volume 2 though, hopefully it comes out stronger than its predecessor.

      I do plan on reading and reviewing The Dark Knight Strikes Again. It’s just waiting there comfortably on my shelf. I’m still enjoying other comics at the moment before I plunge into that…sadly.. condemned sequel.

      P.S. You sure aren’t “treating” yourself to anything. Unless masochism is your thing. No judgement there !

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Chris Evans says:

    Great review! I have mixed feelings about the ‘Earth One’ series, on the one hand there are some interesting innovations and on the other I just wish that Geoff Johns and Gary Frank were working on the regular in-continuity Batman. Both are great talents in graphic storytelling of that there’s no doubt! I’m curious but also cautious about volume 2…

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Definitely agree. There really were some great ideas in the volume. It could’ve been a lot better. Would sure be nice if they worked on a series today, they have so much potential. I also feel the same for volume 2. Hopefully it turns out a little more interesting.

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jaxkson says:

    Saw Trang sharing it on her ig and had to comment it here !! I’ve been looking for someone to review this volume to see if I was the only one whi didn’t like it and Im glad to see from the comments and your review that I was not haha ! I expected a lot because it was Batman. Superman earth one was much better if you ever read it .

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      I also thought Superman (Volume 1) Earth One was better than this volume. But I also think that’s due to the fact that I know less of Superman than I did for Batman. Thank you so much for dropping by and checking out the review. Thank God for Trang’s IG, how else am I supposed to get y’all none-Wordpress users to come check out the Batman stuff ! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Like

  6. Shailene says:

    Hmm I want to read it it looks like a fun story ! But can you do a chronological order on how to read batman comics because Ive always asked for it in the trang Ask box haha it would help me a lot 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      I saw that request come up every time she checks her Ask box. I’ve been considering on doing one for a while, but I don’t want to put out a half-done guide on where to start. It might be a while before that ever comes out, but I’m sure I’ll get to it as soon as I get the chance. If you haven’t read much Batman comics in your lifetime, then you should give this volume a try since the less you know about Batman, the more enjoyable Earth One is ! 😀 Thanks so much for dropping by and checking out my review, it’s truly appreciated ! 😉

      – Lashaan

      Like

    • transhaan says:

      It was fun for what it was ! It just didn’t lelave any lasting good impressions, compared to what I’ve read so far in the Batman universe (like I’ve mentioned to other people). But I do believe that people who haven’t read too many things on Batman can truly enjoy this volume. Glad you enjoyed it though. Anyone happy after reading anything is always a good thing in my books ! 😀 Thanks for stopping by, so glad you took the time to read and leave your thoughts !

      – Lashaan

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s