BATMAN: EARTH ONE (DC, 2012; Hardcover)
Original graphic novel
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
DC's continuity is a hodgepodge mess, so this reboot/reimagining isn't offensive to me like Marvel's Season One line is. Marvel has always had one continuity, or have at least always streamlined and fixed discrepancies. They are pushing that to the limit these days, which puts them about where DC was in the '80s, when they were struggling with 50 years of continuity. DC never had any real continuity until Marvel sort of forced them to in the late Silver Age. The point of all of this that I do not know what to consider canon for DC. Golden Age? Silver Age? Pre-Crisis? Post-Crisis? I am woefully ignorant on much of DC's continuity.
This graphic novel is a fantastic read as a standalone story. It is the umpteenth reinterpretation of Batman's origin, and taken as a fresh concept without ties to previous stories, works extremely well. Geoff Johns's script is crisp, and Gary Frank's artwork is spit-shined to perfection. This is a highly polished effort all around. Even someone who is only marginally knowledgeable about DC (like myself) will find Ultimate-style continuity type reimaginings here, like the Penguin being the mayor of Gotham City. Again, I give DC much more leeway than Marvel because my emotional investment in the characters is minimal by comparison. It's a double standard which I freely admit to.
This would make a great movie, but I'm not sure how many more Batman origin movies the mainstream moviegoing public will tolerate. It would be better to just move forward with the story and disregard the past for the next film. I'm in for the sequel to this book, due some time in 2013.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This is a nice package overall. This material was produced specifically for a hardcover release.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Nice thick coated stock paper.
Binding rating: 4.25 out of 5. This hardcover has glued binding, but it lays reasonably flat in one hand. I will never understand why some DC books are so well made while others are decontented to the point of stupidity.
Hardback cover coating rating: 3 out of 5. The cover has that thin coating which scuffs easily. The characters have a thin screen coating on them. The spine and edge have a unique coating to them, raised and bumpy feeling like an old book. I like it quite a bit. Publishers need to stop being so cheap with the coating on the hardback if they are going to forgo the dustjacket. Nothing turns off people more than a subpar quality product.