Story Synopsis: Batman: Earth One Vol. 1
Bruce Wayne has thirsted for vengeance since the night his parents were killed and wearing a costume is how he is going to do it in this week’s Comic Rewind, Batman: Earth One Vol. 1.
When Wayne was a young boy his father, Thomas, was running for mayor of Gotham in a bitter battle with the current mayor. Thomas was no dummy and knew he needed security once he became mayor so he asked his old war buddy, Alfred Pennyworth, to be his head of security.
Thomas defied Pennyworth’s recommendation and took his wife and Bruce to the movies. While at the movies the power went out and Bruce ran out the back door upset he wouldn’t be able to see the movie. When Bruce’s parents went outside they were robbed and killed.
Pennyworth became the guardian for young Wayne. The anger boiled over in Wayne and he asked Pennyworth to teach him how to fight and the journey to become Batman began. Wayne always suspected that Mayor Oswald Cobblepot had something to do with his parent’s death. However, when a police officer close to Cobblepot was seen with Thomas’ cigarette lighter it became certain. Batman was going to ask this police officer a few questions.
Batman: Earth One Vol. 1 was written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank. DC Comics published the volume in 2013.
Essentially A Batman Year One Story
It has been awhile since I’ve read a Batman comic and this is one of the highly rated ones I never got around to. I appreciate the attempt and the tone shift of a Batman origin story, but this fell flat.
In a year one the reader should see a hero still learning how to be a hero. Seeing the hero’s heart not quite being able to match their skills. We do see this in this comic, but it is inconsistent.
In some panels Batman is getting his ass kicked by one or two criminals, but later in the comic he is taking on 9 criminals at the same time. Is he Batman or a tough guy off the street? If he is still learning then why can he sometimes fight like Batman and other times not?
Why Did He Need To Become Batman?
I also never got why he became Batman. He wants justice for his parents, but why wear a costume? He could have become a DA like Harvey Dent, a police officer like James Gordon or use his wealth and company to provide resources to solve cold cases. I didn’t see being Batman as his only option like other Batman comics describe.
A Tone Shift For Batman Comics
Something in the comic which I really liked was the change in tone to a darker and more realistic one. Police corruption is rampant and it is not based on money but on fear. James Gordon used to fight against the corruption, but then those in power had his wife killed. He now turns a blind eye to certain criminals to protect his daughter Barbara.
Batman doesn’t like guns and refuses to use them, but understands why they are an option. Pennyworth keeps telling him to bring a gun, but Batman refuses. Batman watches as Pennyworth shotguns a guy in the chest and doesn’t seem to have the traditional Batman rule of no killing.
Batman Is The Least Interesting Character
Speaking of Pennyworth I think he is by far the best and most interesting character in the comic. He is probably in his 50s and missing a leg, but beats the crap out of Bruce without even trying and calls him soft. I love butler Alfred as much as the next guy, but the Alfred who can kick Batman’s ass is my favorite kind of Alfred.
I liked the tone and the concept of this comic, but was missing the heart of Batman comics. To be perfectly honest the Batman stuff was the least interesting part. Every other character was way more interesting.
If you are looking for a Batman year one story then read Batman: Year One by Frank Miller. This just doesn’t cut it.