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Batman: Earth One Hardcover – July 10, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 305 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Batman Earth One Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Exclusive: An Omnivoracious Interview with Geoff Johns
In the world of superhero comics, there remains one origin above all others, no matter how many times it is retold: an alley, a family, a gun, and a criminal, Batman's origin is as terrifying as they come. Today, Geoff Johns, superstar scribe and DC's Chief Creative Officer, leaves a notable mark on the character by taking it in a new direction in Batman: Earth One, a re-imagining of the Batman mythos from the ground floor. To celebrate the book's release day, Geoff Johns answered a few questions about his version of Batman's origin, and he provided two exclusive pages to the new graphic novel (available after the jump).

Omnivoracious.com: Batman: Earth One puts a modern-day spin on Batman's origin. What facets of Batman (and Bruce Wayne) did you focus on modernizing?

Geoff Johns: I think the image on the cover says it all--we wanted to see his eyes. Most of the time, Batman's eyes are white in the comics. We wanted to make this more about a flawed, vulnerable, troubled young guy who is on an arguably insane mission of revenge. So I'm not sure it's modernizing so much as humanizing. Gary and I pulled everything back. He's not the Batman who can tear about 30 S.W.A.T. team members without breaking a sweat. He's not the Batman who has invented a Batmobile. There is no Batmobile. He's got a car with tinted windows. He hasn't even thought of the idea of a Batmobile yet. You see in the very first pages what he carries in his utility belt.

It's more about Bruce than Batman. And his journey parallels a lot of the other main characters in the series—once you survive a tragedy someone else hasn’t, where does your life go? How does that affect you? One character in particular has given up. This is about learning to never give up.

Omni: What sets Batman: Earth One apart from any other "early" Bat-tales, such as Year One and The Long Halloween?

Geoff Johns: Batman's not the best as what he does. Alfred's relationship with Bruce, Bruce's mother, Bruce's mission, the cops, Gotham's streets, the secret in the basement, the red dirt and the police man from Los Angeles. It's just a different take on the character.

Omni: What Batman characters were you particularly excited about modernizing?

Geoff Johns: Alfred and the police. Their stories will speak for themselves, I think.

Omni: While you've written Batman in Justice League, this is your first time writing him in a solo story. What would you say is the most important part to understanding the Dark Knight?

Geoff Johns: Understanding Bruce. I think, unfortunately, we all understand loss. And this is loss at its very core. A boy and his parents. How you fill that bottomless pit inside you is a bit of a fruitless journey. But Bruce comes to a very big revelation within the story that ultimately changes what Batman is to him and, I think, us.

Omni: What differed in writing a solo Batman story as opposed to writing him as part of an ensemble?

Geoff Johns: I absolutely loved working with Gary on this because of the singular universe. We built everything from the ground up without having to worry about other stories or other takes on the characters. It could be all ours to re-imagine. And with the page count. We were able to tell our whole story, dive deeper into the characters and create a stand alone graphic novel series starring an entirely new Batman.

Omni: You've worked with Gary Frank before on Superman: Secret Origin and Superman: Brainiac, amongst other superhero-centric graphic novels. What is it about his style that continues this working relationship?

Geoff Johns: Gary does emotion like no one else can. The subtleties in what Gary's art conveys, along with the power, mystery, strength and drama, it's unmatched. Our styles mesh very well together. Every single project we've ever worked on together has turned out greater than I could've imagined. Gary Frank is a true master of his craft, graphic storytelling and character. He brings as much soul to the story as he does to the art and Batman: Earth One would not have worked without him. 

From Booklist

Johns, writer of DC’s flagship title, Justice League, and current creative spearhead of their entire universe, is no stranger to collecting vast mythologies into focused narratives. He and Frank did a superlative job of just that in the recent Superman: Secret Origins. Here, Johns strategically remixes elements of the Batman mythos, laying out his quest for vengeance against a corrupt system in a way that narrows the spotlight on the character’s obsession. The Penguin is recast as Gotham City’s crooked mayor, Alfred is reinvented as a tough-as-nails ex-Royal Marine, and Bruce Wayne is tied to the city in deeper, more gothically psychological ways. Like the first in DC’s line of beautifully bound, more realistic reimaginings, Superman: Earth One (2010), however, this one falls short of a revelatory reexamination of what makes its hero resonant, settling instead for a tweaked but comfortably familiar retelling. If anything, it is Frank’s gorgeously lush art that stands out here, putting genuine emotion on faces, conveying the impact of fist against body, and supplying a palpable texture for costumes and environments. --Jesse Karp

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Product Details

  • Series: Batman (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; First Edition edition (July 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401232086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401232085
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The origin story of Batman has been told countless times. In "Batman: Earth One," superstar writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank take a stab at telling an entirely new and unique take on the Dark Knight's beginning...and the result is stellar.

The Batman that we all know and love from the movies and comics is already a fully-fledged badass, taking on the worst that Gotham has to offer and always coming out on top...but was he always this way? Surely Batman must have had a few setbacks on his climb from hero to super-hero...right? This is the story that Johns and Frank set out to tell, reminiscent of Frank Miller's wildly popular and best-selling, "Batman: Year One."

Now, before any Bruce Wayne / Batman purists get all up-in-arms over the tinkering with the widely-known and cemented origin story of the Caped Crusader, know that Earth One is intended as an alternate story-line to the Batman mythos...similar to the best-selling, "Superman: Earth One," told by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Shane Davis.

In fact, Johns has stated that he hopes to continue with this alternate story in future - self-contained - graphic novels, outside of the main story arcs presented by the monthly issues published by DC Comics.

What is immediately striking about Johns' and Frank's version of the Bat's origin story, is the sheer number of liberties taken with the established mythos and characters in that universe. Yes, Bruce Wayne's parents are still killed and his journey begins with a desire to hunt down the murderer(s)...
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Probably my favorite batman arc yet. New batman, royal marine alfred.

Story is darker, batman is not as experienced, and it feels much more realistic.

Also, Vol. 2 finally came out, and it's just as good. All in all a 10/10 read. With incredible artwork.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of all of the contemporary books about Batman, this alternate Earth re-imagining of the Dark Knight is arguably the best. Geoff Johns is a fine comic book writer and has put every bit of his expertise into the story. The art by Gary Frank is eye-popping, easily as good as the best work of Mark Bagley and Bryan Hitch. It held me in its grip as well as anything else featuring the character, even the "Gotham" TV series. And, as with the latter example, it is not your father's or your grandfather's Batman. Many familiar characters populate its pages, but they have been taken in new directions without being outlandish or different for the sake of being different. This is an engaging, adult-oriented story that takes full advantage of the long-running series' potential. This is the Batman I've always wanted to see: tough, vulnerable and absolutely committed to his crusade no matter what the cost. A great start to what promises to play out as a must-read series.
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Gary frank's art was exceptional. Everything that I usually break down like character faces, full body shots, backgrounds, etc. were all top notch. I don't have a lot of familiarity with Frank's work but I do remember a couple of things from back in his Image Comics days. DC would do well to put him on some of their top books. Batgirl would be my personal pick to put him on because even though we don't see Batgirl in action in this book, Barbara's concept drawing for her costume is what Batgirl should look like. That is the Batgirl I see in my head when someone mentions the character. Art gets a rare 5.

As I've stated recently in my reviews for New 52 Green Lantern, I'm just starting to read stuff written by Geoff Johns. Until GL volume 1, I wasn't familiar with his work at all. Three of the last four things I've read have all been written by him. I'm really fond of what I'm seeing so far. I liked seeing a different version of Batman for a little while. I don't think I'd enjoy the story as much if it was told in our universe, but for an Elseworlds story it works great. Story gets 4 stars.

Overall rating would be 4.5 stars.

This isn't something I'd recommend to a lot of people. If you're only a casual comic reader and are wanting a title to pick up because you're interested in reading some of Batman's adventures, this is not the book for you. On the other hand, if you're a Batman fan and want to see Bruce and the rest of his supporting cast in a different light , by all means, pick this up. You will not be disappointed
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As an old fan of comic books who hasn't been keeping up with them for a long time, I know how hard it is to jump into an ongoing story when there is so much history and backstory to slog through. DC's Earth One fixes that. Akin to Marvel's Ultimate Universe (which I am admittedly not much of a fan of) Earth One reboots and retells the Batman story in a new way.

This story of Batman is familiar yet fresh, characters such as Alfred and others have been tweaked and changed and we get to see a rash, hard-headed, Batman who has yet to become the hero he one day will be. I felt this book drew obvious inspiration from the Christopher Nolan movies with certain design and story-telling choices, and James Gordon in this book is a dead ringer for Gary Oldman.

If I understand what DC is planning to do with these Earth One stories is keep them as self-contained graphic novels, instead of releasing them as single issues and then later collecting them as trades. And for me that's a plus.

I rated this book four out of five stars though because I felt for my taste it was just a hair on the short side. Since this a re-telling of Batman's origin it felt as though some more of the time between the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne and Bruce donning the bat-cowl could have been a bit more fleshed out.

Solid read and solid purchase, looking forward to vol. 2.
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