Thursday, May 21, 2015

Trade Central Station: Batman: Earth One Vol. 2

Batman Earth One Vol. 2
Written By Geoff Johns
Pencils By Gary Frank
Inks By Jon Sibal
Colors By Brad Anderson

Hey, after a long wake it’s good to get a a brand new Earth One Hardcover from the good folks over at DC, and by good folks, I mean money hungry goobers who shit out a “New and Updated” version of Batman for a new generation of fans. OR we can just call it a new way to piss off old fans and not reel in any new fans. Hey, it’s true. But crappy re-imaginings aside, this is the second volume of the Batman Earth One. Think Ultimate Batman, 15 years too damn late. Shit, Marvel is killing off it’s Ultimate Marvel U. in the pages of “Secret Wars.” DC will follow suit once Grant Morrison reads this and figures he want’s a pay day, too.

So where we last left you, Alfred (Who isn’t a sissy boy in this Universe.) ends up shooting Mayor Cobbelpot. Why,you might ask? Because he
figured out that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Shit. That’ll keep the rouges gallery small. Someone find out who you really are, why, just put a bullet in them. Unless we are talking about The Flash on the CW. Got to keep that PG. Ahem. So Jessica Dent and her brother Harvey have taken up the fight to clean up Gotham City. But, you know, in a totally legal way. But if comics have taught me anything it’s that if you really want to get something done, don’t call the fuzz, just dress up in Spandex (not a wrestler.) and take the law into your own hands….so long as you are rich and can make bail and flee the country at a moments notice. Simple, right?

There is also a guy who’s out there killing people in Gotham in the form of asking riddles and then offing them when they get it wrong. You can guess it’s the Riddler. Who’ll I’ll admit that after read that Zero Year back int the pages of Scott Snyder
S Batman, I’m kind of burned out of the Riddler. Hey, how awesome would if be if the Ridder taught a class at the local community college? You’d make sure to get that homework in on time, wouldn’t you? On another note, did Geoff Johns just say “Screw it” and pretty much give his version of the Riddler the same gimmick as Marvel’s Arcade? Only John Byrne knows for sure.

So Jessica Dent still has the hots for Bruce and and Harvey ain’t cool with Bruce trying to get it own with her kid sister. Go figure. But wait, if this wasn’t a cluster fuck of a story, there’s a green man trying to eat people in the sewers of Gotham. Sounds like Killer Croc to me. Yup. It is. So the story is that five people have taken over the reigns of power in Gotham since the death of Mayor Cobblepot and Jess Dent is now Mayor and Harvey is D.A. Batman’s got his hands full with trying to rid the city of evil, stop the Riddler and keep Alfred from busting his balls on why he’s only wearing Spandex and not a suit of Armor. While he’s a total dick in the U. Alfred makes a valid point. Hell, there’s even a point where Killer Croc first confronts Batman in the sewers he asks “Where’s your Armor?” and ’You really want to be called Batman?” Funny shit all around.

While hanging out with Killer Croc in the sewers under Gotham, oh if you’re wondering why Croc isn’t trying to Kill/eat Batman is because in the tale, Croc is more misunderstood than mob killer. Sigh, isn’t that just the way it always is? So yeah, Batman and Croc are friends. Croc even shows Bats where the Riddler is hiding in the crazy Arkham built underground sewers that connect underneath Gotham City. What I like about the Riddler in this tale is that he gives people riddles and if they don’t get them right he kills them. He uses them as a means to an end. He cuts an elevator line sending people falling to their death forty feet down when they can’t guess the answer. Then do blows up an art gala when the patrons can’t figure out his riddle. I admit it was funny when Riddle puts a bomb on a Gotham Subway train and tells Batman to guess the answer and he’ll space the people on the train. When Batman guess the correct answer, Riddler says “Screw it” and sets off the bomb anyway! What an ass.

Gary Frank is a great artist but boy, he needs to stick to drawing Superman, because his Batman/ Bruce Wayne just didn’t seem to mesh with his art style. I’m not saying Gary Frank sucks, cause lord knows he’s the man, but Frank and Batman seem like oil and water. Not such a good match. Johns tried to reinvent the wheel with his take on Batman, but this tale just felt like a rip off of Nolan’s Dark Knight. You know, minus the Joker or being awesome.

Ending is everyone being lead to the the Gotham PD station and the power being cut by the Riddler and Boss Moroni (Dude, came out of nowhere.) to throw some Whiskey (the didn’t have prison hooch) in Harvey’s face and killing him while his sister, Jess, tries to shield him. She gets burned on her face as well making her the new Two Face. Didn’t see that shit, coming. Riddler and Batman in a big car chase, with Riddler giving away that he was one of the five guys running Gotham after Cobblepot bit the dust and the people that he was killing were the other four. Turns out Riddler was looking to be top dog. Batman then follows Riddler to the tunnels where Croc sneaks up on him and stops Riddler from blowing up half of Gotham City. Riddler manages to unload into Crock and as Batman checks on him, Riddler runs into the sewer. Good luck, finding him not Bats.

Story ends with Gordon getting promoted to Captain and Batman gets a new car and a new roommate/ partner with Croc as he goes to live with Batman in the Manor. Also Catwoman is introduced here. To be honest, I had to fight myself to finish reading this. You’re better off rereading The Dark Knight Returns. Batman for a new era leaves me wanting and with Johns and Frank I was totally expecting more. Or barring that, a refund. Save your cash, folks.

-Tash Moore

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