Batman: Earth One

& others (text) & Gary Frank & others (illus.). Vol. 2. DC. May 2015. 160p. ISBN 9781401241858. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781401259518. SUPERHERO
In Volume 2 of the "Batman: Earth One" series, Johns continues his refreshing retelling of the origins of the Dark Knight, his transformation into a symbol of change and hope for Gotham City, and the development of the relationships he makes with canonical characters cast in a different light. Johns's expert and accessible narrative style is the vehicle for a successfully balanced story that takes commonplace elements and beloved characters from the Batman universe and reimagines their manifestations and motivations, while preserving those aspects that defined them throughout the comic's continuity. In this iteration, Batman is an inexperienced detective, an amateur fighter, and a naïve yet determined idealist. Included are Alfred Pennyworth, the ex-marine-turned-combat trainer for Bruce Wayne; a young Lucius Fox, tasked with equipping a budding vigilante; and a colorful entourage of recognizable villains with episodes varied just enough to explore a wide range of conflicts with the same characters. Those familiar with Batman, whether from the movies, cartoons, or comic books, will enjoy the famous faces with fresh stories. First-time readers can dive right in to the Earth One universe; Frank's clear and unobtrusive art complements the dynamic, straightforward plot.
VERDICT As with J. Michael Straczynski's Superman: Earth One, this series is a refreshing take on an old saga and has plenty to offer a wide audience.
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