MINOR SPOILERS FOR BATMAN - EARTH ONE
Right now, you're wondering why you should care about a recently published story that has nothing to do with the main continuity at DC Comics? Batman - Earth One is an origin story for Bruce Wayne and delivers an amazing story, with beautifully drawn panels. DC's already used The League of Shadows in Nolan's trilogy as Bruce's origin and this comic offers something different in terms of storytelling.
Firstly, I'll admit, I was disappointed in Batman v Superman -- I wasn't at first, but the more I dwell on the movie, the more I find unappealing about Snyder's film. I don't know why Snyder decided to put two of the biggest comic books in history (The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman) together in one movie? There were so many plot-holes and it makes you wonder how could it possibly taken three years to make (Beyond the amazing visual effects)?
The more I watch/read other iterations of Batman - from the comics to the animated versions - it makes me throw more shade than a willow tree at the DCEU for portraying Batman in such a ruthless manner (I still think Batlflek was pretty darn good!). Most of us have heard the news that Batman will allegedly have a much larger role in Suicide Squad than we previously thought. If you want to understand how Batman became -- well, Batman, then I suggest reading this! There are other origin stories that are really good as well, but this has to be my favorite written so far!
Batman - Earth One is a graphic novel written by the amazing, Geoff Johns, and illustrated by the talented, Gary Frank. As of now, there are two volumes to the series (2012 & 2015) and it takes place right when Bruce became Batman, with flashbacks to Bruce's childhood. One of the things that I liked the most; the simple fact that it's not bogged-down with previous continuity and Johns can create fascinating characters without fear of repercussions from upset fans (like myself). Oh yeah, THR reported that Affleck and Johns are using Bruce's origin in Earth One as inspiration for Batman's standalone in the DCEU!
Alfred managed to be hilarious in a movie where humor was in short-supply. In Johns' graphic novel, Alfred was dear friends with Thomas Wayne -- and I thought it was touching after his parents' death -- Alfred was reluctant at first to take guardianship of young Master Wayne. The CPS lady just sprung this on Alfred and at first he denied this opportunity, but he saw how sad Bruce was and accepted the gig. He approached Bruce as his new butler, while he was trying to get him to eat something. Oh yeah, Alfred was some badass in the Royal Marines and walks with a cane -- like a pimp!
Alfred's demeanor in BvS was the first clue that we were getting a different kind of Batman than in previous versions. He was different from Caine's version and I liked Jeremy Irons' version better. What I'm trying to say -- they already used The League of Shadows to teach Bruce how to fight in The Dark Knight Trilogy and it makes more sense to have Alfred be the one to teach Bruce in the DCEU. Combine with this technical know-how and his military experience; I think this is the way to go to separate this version from previous incarnations by using Earth One's Alfred Pennyworth. Reading this graphic novel will make you love Alfred and Bruce's relationship even more in Suicide Squad. It takes time to setup Alfred's love of Master Wayne! Plus, Alfred's basically as badass as Batman!
DIFFERENT ORIGIN... KINDA
Firstly, I'm digging the way they actually show Bruce's eyes in this comic, instead of having them all-white like in almost all of DC's comics. Thomas Wayne was running for Mayor of Gotham and Alfred came to his aid when he thought he couldn't trust anyone in his campaign. Also, Bruce's mother's name was Martha Arkham and her family is harboring some dark secrets about her family's mental health.
The first volume deals solely with Bruce trying to find his parents' killer and it's fantastic -- well, it also has a strange new villain and an old one with Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin) as the Mayor of Gotham. He was the one opposing Thomas Wayne during the time Bruce's parents were murdered. I love how Johns makes you think that Oswald is behind the Wayne's death (He might be) and the lengths Batman will go find out. Lastly, I'm also enjoying this new character Jessica Dent (Harvey's twin sister) and it'll be worth your time to read. I don't want to give too many spoilers away, I still want you to read it!
HE'S ACTUALLY A GREAT GUY
Think what you will, but Batman is a dick. In Hush, he admitted this to Clark Kent and Johns' interpretation displays someone who's not as jaded as the previous incarnations. Some people could argue that it's because he just started out and he has yet to suffer tragedy-after-tragedy. You might be right, but I think this is a compelling origin to contrast what we saw in Batman v Superman. I believe deep down that this version of Bruce is a great guy. I don't want to spoil anything, but you really need to read his interaction with Waylon Jones in Earth One to understand what I'm saying.
Bruce starts off in this comic as someone that seems too ill-equipped, even in the beginning to become the Batman that we all know and love. We've seen it sorta in Batman Begins, but this really drives home how far he must come and when he does -- you feel like you both have just accomplished something spectacular. Also, a lot of the Bruce's supporting players are in both volumes and we get to see some of them in a different light.
I particularly liked Gordon and Bullock's relationship as partners who started off not liking one another and then they became close friends. Gordon is hardened by Gotham and he has a really good reason behind letting a man assault an innocent bystander (she might be, I'm not sure). Bullock just transferred from Hollywood: where he had his own television show about being a detective. Harvey came to Gotham trying to solve the Wayne's murder. Gordon sees through his bull sh*t right away, until Bullock messes up and they need to rescue a certain someone. This is also allows Gordon and Batman to bond in a different way and I would love to see this in live-action! After Batman helps Gordon out in this matter, Gordon now trusts Batman, even with Alfred's dismay of outside help.
This article wouldn't be complete with discussing the most famous Rogues in all of comics. A lot of classic Batman villains appear, and no, The Joker does not appear. Let's see, The Riddler, Harvey Dent, Penguin, Catwoman, Killer Croc and a new one called Birthday Boy, all appear in this wonderfully written graphic novel. The first volume deals the death of his parents and Oswald Cobblepot. The second volume deals with The Riddler and Killer Croc -- and it has an amazing new origin story for the villainous Two-Face. Johns really doesn't go too in-depth with the villains and primarily focuses on Bruce becoming Batman. It's still fun to see these villains for the first time in a new Batman story.
Everyone has there favorite Batman story and a favorite version of the iconic Caped Crusader. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this comic and as of now, we know very little about Batman's past in the DCEU. So, by reading this comic and comparing the two versions of Batman in Suicide Squad, we might get some more information about Bruce before his solo movie. Honestly, I just don't see us finding out too much information about how Bruce became Batman in The Justice League movies. Thank you for reading and in the next couple days I plan on doing one for Wonder Woman - Earth One, as well! I've already started reading her comic and it's not what I expected. Anyways, please read the comic, or if you have already, please let me know what you thought of it!
SUICIDE SQUAD HIT THEATERS ON AUGUST 5TH IN THE UNITED STATES!