Batman: Earth-One, the follow up to Goeff Johns’s Superman: Earth-One, reinvents the Dark Knight for the modern world. This is the re-imagination of the classic tale takes Gotham’s protector down a whole new road, and gives some other classic Gotham characters a new twist. DC has tried in the past to try to cash in on what Marvel had done in the Ultimate Universe, but has never been successful, until the Earth-One Graphic Novels.
Corruption is even worse in this new Gotham because of its Mayor, Oswald Cobblepot (A.K.A. the Penguin). The cops, either paid off or threatened to the point of being little more then security guards, are allowing crime to run rampant throughout the city There are only a few men willing to do anything about all the problems the normal citizens have to face. The story is similar to Batman: Year One, and begins follow both Bruce and Gordon in their rise to being the city’s protectors.
Gordon has been beaten down by the corruption because of the murder of his wife. For the fear of harm to his daughter Barbara he tows the line, not making waves until he gets assigned a new partner from Hollywood, Harvey Bullock. Harvey is a straight arrow fame hound who is extremely innocent when it comes to real crime. Coming to Gotham is a real eye opener for the detective, as he finds out just asking for a file can get someone killed. It is that innocence that puts Bullock in harm’s way, and brings Gordon back from his apathetic past. Bullock’s actions put Gordon’s daughter, Barbara, in mortal danger and force Gordon to make a hard choice– back down and allow his daughter to die, or fight back for his life too.
Bruce is just a unsure of himself as Gordon in this new world. He has a fire inside him, but he does not have the focus necessary to harness that anger and pain. Alfred in this world is not the loving emotional man we have come to know in Batman history. The Alfred Pennyworth here is ex-military, a man who pushes Bruce to be the best crime fighter he can be both mentally and physically. It is his guidance in combat that helps focus Bruce’s anger to be a better Batman.
There are references to others in the Gotham world like the Riddler, the birth of Batgirl and the Dents. Reboots or re-tellings can benefit from using secondary or unknown characters in opening stories, so that the audience does not get the big bang that comes with a Joker and might be hard to keep up that type of momentum.
There is a major difference between this book and other comic books that are available digitally. This book is available though iBooks rather than a comic app, and there are draw backs to this format. In the iBooks app the movement of the pages is not as fluid as other comic apps. There were times when the pages would be stuck in the middle showing two pages at once or the app would skip ahead two pages at once. The app may be great for normal books but for some reason it does not work as well for comics.
I enjoyed both Superman and this version of Batman, but its disappointing knowing that unlike Marvel’s Ultimate universe this world is limited. Sequels to DC’s World’s Finest are in the works, and Wonder Woman is also on the way, but will the momentum and interest continue with so much time in between?