Earth One is a series of graphic novels set for their very own continuity and marketed for the hardcore & casuals alike with the premise of receiving one good story per volume, which also follows as an ongoing series. The page count is 144 of storytelling, no extras or anything, just one big story told.
For me, this is the story of Gotham City and its inhabitants, mainly Bruce Wayne & his relation with Alfred, James Gordon’s and Harvey Bullock’s partnership. It’s about family, loyalty and team work in a harsh corrupt city where no hope seems to exist at all. Batman’s a total novice, having spent his entire life in Gotham City, no international journeys for this bratty snob, while Alfred having taught him protection and keeping up the shape, as this Alfred is much more reflected by his marine past, than the mainstream Alfred ever has been. Likewise, James Gordon’s life is a train wreck and like I’ve mentioned Batman hasn’t done any international soul searching journey and trained with the ninjas, so we’re looking at a very novice Batman who is nothing more than about vengeance.
Gary Frank’s storytelling is top notch; the amount of facial expressions found in the book speaks for itself and shows the emotional struggles and joys these characters face over the course of the story, thus the ending with its happy and sad endings is all the more empowering. The action sequences are mostly good, but if feel the two page spreads are unnecessary in this book’s format of storytelling, not to mention people have seen much more stunning double page spreads than what this book has to offer for action sequences.
What I found most interesting are the changes to the Batman mythos that the book represents, because their totally new takes on some classic Batman tropes, some more familiar, some far more unique and interestingly thought out. Geoff Johns has found interesting potential with the Wayne family legacy, much like he did with Flashpoint’s Batman. However there are some blatant inspirations by Batman Begins, the most significant being Lucius Fox’s role as making the gadgets for Batman, however this Lucius seems to be either the same age or perhaps even younger than Bruce, so again, there are some twists to the mythos.
Overall, this is a book that builds up Batman’s and Gotham’s mythos while offering the story of Batman searching for the truth behind the Wayne family murders, we’re they murdered by the Mayor of Gotham or was it just a random mugging by Gotham’s very evil?
Rating: 93/100 - I’m recommending this to everyone from hardcore Bat-fanatics to the random trade pack purchasers. You get a solid world building setting of Gotham City, while craving for the next chapter after finishing this one.