Review: Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2 by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank (Illustrator)

Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2 (Batman Earth One, #2)Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

It’s been a few years since the first volume of Batman: Earth One came out, so I was pretty excited when I saw this sucker. Finally!

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For those of you who don’t know, Earth One titles are re-imaginings of DC characters that do not take place in regular continuity. In other words, this is not our Batman. It’s just a neat way for writers to take iconic characters and their origin stories, and put a different spin on things.
Sometimes the stories are very cool…sometimes they suck.
My opinion? This one was awesome!
It’s not perfect, but I had a lot of fun reading it.

The main villain for volume two is the Riddler.
He’s riddling away while blowing up various locations. Not the best re-imagining I’ve ever seen, but Johns does a decent job with the storyline.

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Killer Croc was briefly introduced, as well. His story is pretty different considering he’s just a misunderstood guy with a skin condition.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Waylon portrayed as decent, but usually he’s just more of a bad guy with a heart, not a blameless victim.
Without spoiling the story, I’ll just say that the ending surprised me…
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Two-Face’s origin has been completely re-vamped.
Harvey & Jessica Dent are twins. Since their childhood, Harvey has always hated Bruce Wayne because of his family’s ties with Arkham (Bruce’s mother was an Arkham). He believes that insanity runs in Wayne’s blood. The fact that Bruce and Jessica were something of an item when they were younger probably exacerbated his feelings. Flash forward to the present: Harvey is the District Attorney, and Jessica is now the mayor of Gotham City. When the Riddler starts mucking things up, she goes to her old friend Bruce for help in rebuilding the people’s faith in the city. Harvey still doesn’t like Bruce, but he defers to her wishes…
Spoilery shit goes very wrong.
And you see the beginnings of Two-Face start to emerge.
This was the best twist that I’ve seen in one of these Earth One titles, so far.

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On a side note, Catwoman makes a cool cameo, but I don’t want to spoil anything by telling where she shows up, or what she does.

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Batman is still struggling to figure out how to be Batman, and he doesn’t quite have all the cool moves down yet. But he’s getting there.
And he’s a hell of a lot better at it than he was in the first volume…

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Alfred, Gordon, Bullock…they’re all different from our guys, but I’m totally on board with the way they’re being re-written. I really love that Bullock was the incorruptible cop when this started out!

If you’re not open to What If stories, then cross this off your list, but if you usually like that sort of thing, I think you’ll enjoy this one.
Also, I love this title, but I’m really hoping it doesn’t take another 3 years for the next volume to come out!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me a digital copy to review.

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Review: Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski

Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

Guess what, Chicken Butt?
I finally like Earth One’s Superman!
Maybe it’s because I’m finding most of the New 52 Superman stuff to be tragically bad by comparison, but this really didn’t suck.

Earth One’s Clark is much more confrontational and outspoken, which is what I prefer. He’s a nice guy, but nobody is going to push him around.

Zod. Zod, Zod, Zod…
Ugh. He’s my least favorite villain in Superman’s rogues gallery, but even his appearance in this one didn’t kill it for me. His origin is a bit different, but he’s the same villain underneath it all.
Kill Superman! Take over Earth!

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This one also solidifies the origin of this Earth’s Lex Luthor, but the less I say about that, the better. Cool twist, though!

Clark and Lois call an uneasy truce in the newsroom, and Lois becomes Superman’s full time adviser for How To Not Freak Out The Puny Humans.
I gotta say, I’m not digging the lame Bat-signal rip-off…
Dear sweet baby Jesbus,
Please let this dumbass signal fade into obscurity.

Lois, you do realize that you can just yell really loud to get his attention, right?
You know, ’cause…super-hearing?

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Then there’s his friend and neighbor, Lisa. She’s a struggling actress and (used to be) part-time hooker. Looks like they might finally be taking things to the next level. But there’s still the ongoing question of whether or not Clark can actually do the deed with Earth women.
I’ll admit it.
I’m more curious about that than anything else going on in this title.
Pathetic, I know.

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Anyway, I had fun reading this volume 3, and (for the first time) I’m looking forward to the next one!

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Release Day Review: Teen Titans: Earth One Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire, Terry Dodson (Illustrator)

Teen Titans: Earth One Vol. 1Teen Titans: Earth One Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pretty cool retelling of the Teen Titans’ origin story.
These Earth One books have been hit-or-miss for me, so I went into this hopeful, but not salivating. Earth One titles (in case you aren’t familiar with them) are basically What If stories, that re-imagine the beginnings of some of DC’s most iconic characters. They don’t fit into the continuity of the regular DC universe, so the authors can kind of do whatever they want, without it causing ripple effects.

First off, for all the fans out there who have been screaming bloody murder over Starfire’s over-sexualization in some of other titles?
You can officially put down your torches and pitchforks. The majority of this book, you only see her eyes (sort of), and when you finally do see her, she’s wrapped up in cloth from the neck down.
Like a mummy!

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Sorry, that image just made me giggle, so I thought I’d share.

Ok. In this story, most of the (eventual) Teen Titans (Cyborg, Terra, Beast Boy, and Jericho) meet in high school.
Two exceptions.
Starfire, whose alien DNA has been used for experiments, and is currently in stasis at a lab.
And Raven, who’s not the daughter of a demon in this one, but a Native American with somewhat undefined powers.
The other four kids are seemingly normal teenagers until they all start hearing Starfire’s voice n their heads, asking for help. The voice triggers the different latent powers in each of them to go into some sort of hyper-drive.
Except Jericho.
He seemingly remains a normal kid.
Hmmmm.

The plot reminded me of Kelley Armstrong’s young adult trilogy, Darkness Rising. In that one, a group of teenagers lived in a isolated town, blissfully unaware that the company their parents work for had been injecting them with stuff that eventually gives them supernatural powers.
An experimental town, so to speak.
Now, I’m not suggesting that Jeff Lemire ripped-off a young adult series. I doubt he’s ever even heard of it. But if you know the plot of those books, then you’ll understand the comparison.
The kids in Earth One are also ‘experiments‘, and are unaware of the part their parents played in their new abilities. Now they’ve gotta go on the run, search for answers, yadda, yadda, yadda.

The Terry Dodson’s art fits with the feel of the book. It’s got a cartoony vibe to it, without being weirdly exaggerated. Good stuff.
And this is really just sort of silly, but I’m wondering if anyone else thought the dark haired chick on the cover was Amanda Waller? Maybe because I’d been looking at a tiny cover on my computer, but I was actually surprised to realize that it was Raven.

Overall, I liked this one, and I’m interested in seeing where they go with this story.

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