No Myth, Just Man: Batman Earth One

I have complex feelings about BATMAN EARTH ONE. On the one hand, I dislike a great number of the changes to the basic origin of Batman (no bat through the window, no cave, no loyal butler, per se) (though at least one of the things I didn't like -- the change to essential randomness of the Wayne's murder -- got reversed before the end), moves and shifts of characters (turning Bullock into Roy Raymond, say? Or the deal with Mr. Cobblepot), or just general "bad positioning" (the confusing title, etc.)

On the other hand, this is everything that I had hoped that the "New 52" reboot might have been -- there's some serious thinking about the world the characters are playing in going on, and a lot of the same-yet-different stuff urgently compelled me to turn pages. The art is absolutely terrific, and the comic really isn't about Johns' Daddy Issues (yay!). A few of the changes are even surprisingly strong -- Martha Wayne's maiden name, for example.

On the other other hand, parts of this read like a Mad magazine parody of Batman -- the opening scene, maybe, which ALMOST makes it impossible to take the character seriously for the entire rest of the book; or the main physical antagonist, who is built like the Hulk (in a book where Batman looks like a nerd in an ill-fitting mask), but wears a scarecrow-style bag over his head, topped by a jaunty birthday hat (!)

On the other(cubed) hand, I could actually see this working pretty well as a TV show pitch, which I sort of imagine is half of the reason for it.

Batman here is kinda Just a Guy -- almost all of the Myth is stripped from the proceedings.

(What's interesting is that I sort of can't see Superman Earth One and this Batman working together even a little bit)

What I CAN say with a large amount of assurance is that it kept me turning the pages -- not like SEO, which was an actual chore to read -- so I liked this at least that much; I didn't feel like my time was being wasted, exactly, and I wanted to see where it ended up.

However, I don't think Johns had enough control of the longer format -- captions of "now" and "then" stop and start throughout the book without any real rhyme or reason, and there are certainly places where a smidge more linearity in presentation would have done wonders. Big splash pages, which have a great deal of impact in a serialized format, come off as vamping here, and there's a density you want to push for in a big book like this which I think is somewhat wasted. In other words, it reads more like a really long comic book, than a "graphic novel", but I think it is OK for a creator's reach to exceed their grasp in cases like this.

I think I'd consider this more of an extra-long Elseworlds ("What If..... Batman Was Just a Man?") than anything else, and that makes it staggeringly inessential, though it is priced as a premium item, but in every way it was also a read with a lot of forward momentum and thought applied to it.

I prefer a lot more Myth in my Bat, and, at any time for any reader, I'd strongly recommend Batman: Year One over this any day of the week.. but this wasn't as bad as it might have been (or it's brother book was), and I thought it was a really strong OK, on the Savage Critic scale.


What did you think?


Wait, What? Ep. 92: Brave Faces

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App Above: the Tomato Bs waffle, which is tomatoes, brie and basil on a savory liege waffle, from The Waffle Window, Portland, OR


So, never let it be said, we don't go the full nine yards for you here at Castle Wait, What?  For episode 92, not only did I drive 630 miles, set up and record this podcast in Graeme's attic, drive 630 miles back, mix, edit, and upload the podcast, but I also provided detailed show notes for you! Not sure if it's one time only thing or not, but join me behind the link so you can smoke it while you've got it!

So here is what Episode 92 of Wait, What? looks like from the air:

1:18-3.53  : Greetings and apologies and caveats 3:53-7:18: The Avengers and the oddness of its worldwide profits 7:18- 8:51: The Amazing Spider-Man movie and how it's being marketed 8:51-22:59: Safety Not Guaranteed and a terrifying quasi-related Blair Witch Project story 22:59-26:33: WAFFLE WINDOW 26:33-31:38: Comics discussed with varying degrees of knowledge:  Kevin Huizenga's Gloriana and Chris Ware's Building Comics. 31:38-33:46: Digression: our dynamic revealed! Somehow, Quincy, M.E. is involved. 33:46-39:48: The Wire and the process of entertainment, including Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty'The Manual: How to Have a Number One the Easy Way and Jeff tries his hand at a Venture Bros. plot. 39:48-55:28: More comics discussed! Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.  Should you expect a Batman book by Geoff Johns or a Geoff Johns book with Batman in it?

--55:28-56:10:  A brief break--

56:10-57:49 :Zaucer of Zilk and David Brothers and Graeme on why Graeme associates it with Casanova 57:49-1:02:58: Comic news: Spider-Man and Alpha... 1:02:58-1:06:05: ...and Marvel teasers for its latest "War" event and online reaction to Graeme's online reaction 1:06:05-1:06:53: Obligatory magical Portland library shout-out... 1:06:53-1:08:18: And the obligatory explanation of Jeff and his Marvel Comics boycott/abstinence... 1:08:18-1:13:48: The Brubaker interview at Comics Reporter and the state of Icon (warning: includes slight Kick-Ass discussion) 1:13:48-1:22:53: SDCC, the announcement cycle and what Marvel might have up their sleeve.  With discussion of the rumored Bendis and Immonen and biweekly X-Men book and other Marvel strategies. 1:22:53-1:39:18: Graeme tries to make Jeff cry with this column from iFanboy, resulting in a conversation that goes all over the place. 1:39:18-1:41:30: Closing comments of a kind as we realize we have broken the motorboat, so to speak.

Even without this roadmap, you may have already stumbled across the territory on iTunes.  Alternately, why not take the time to explore at your leisure below?

Wait, What?, Episode 92: Brave Faces

As always, we hope you enjoy and thanks for listening!

Wait, What? Ep. 90: Back in the Game

Photobucket Ladies and Gentlemen: GRAEME MCMILLAN IS.

The nice thing about writing a post during which you lose your mind and decide the best thing to be done is to embed as many of the lyrics of an Elvis Costello song as you can is you realize: (a) it can't be topped; and (b) maybe you're allowed to go easy on yourself every now and again; and (c) your attempts to give the page a catchy image and a bit of punchy jibbety-jab really only go so far, as it's the actual thing you are introducing that people are (or are not) here for.

(Also, you realize you are addicted to parentheticals and alphabetized lists, and have no idea exactly how you're going to get those particular monkeys off your back. Is there a twelve step group underwritten by the Chicago Manual of Style?)

(Also, these muscle relaxants aren't really capable of doing shit as far as making you feel mellow and floaty, but they're kind of dynamite for making you feel like every word you're typing is WRONG, in a near-sacrilegious way. I feel like Henry god-damned Miller writing this thing!)

Anyway, Wait, What? Episode 90 is here, lemme just shuffle off to Buffalo and bring it on: it's two hours and twenty-one minutes, it's Graeme and I answering the questions on Twitter we forgot about until Rick Vance (I...think?) reminded us, it has us talking Batman: Earth One by Johns & Frank; Skull The Slayer; Steve Englehart (lots and lots of Steve Englehart); Dracula World Order by the fabulous Ian Brill; Batman #10, Andy Warhol's Robocop (not at any particular length, sorry); Spider-Men #1, and our old buddy "much, much more."

Those what like iTunes will have have already dipped their toes into our radiant tide pool. The rest are invited to remove your shoes, roll up your pant legs, and wade in below:

Wait, What? Ep. 90: Back in the Game

As always, we hope you enjoy and thank you for listening!