What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Batman: Earth One is an action-packed graphic novel that introduces a new version of the Dark Knight quite different from the traditional Batman we know from the comics and movies, games, and TV. It portrays its hero as an untrained, fallible neophyte. Other familar characters from the Batman comics are depicted in new ways, which gives the story most of its energy. There's a good deal of violence -- beatings, stabbings, shootings -- delivered by Batman and his allies and by the villains. A serial killer who preys on teenage girls may be the most disturbing aspect of the book.
What's the story?
In BATMAN: EARTH ONE, wealthy playboy Bruce Wayne adopts the persona of the Batman to seek vengeance for his parents' murder. But this version of Batman is clumsy, impetuous, angry, and untrained. Other characters from the long-running comics series are shown in a new light: Alfred is a former Royal Marine, the Penguin is the mayor of Gotham City, and cop Jim Gordon is no longer on the straight-and-narrow.
Is it any good?
Comics have a long tradition of "alternate earth" versions of their superheroes. DC revamped its entire line of comics in 2011 and reintroduced a Batman that's pretty close to how most people think of "Batman." But Batman: Earth One introduces a new version of the Dark Knight quite different from the traditional Batman we know from the comics and movies.
Comic-book adventures in alternate universes can be a lot of fun, but Batman: Earth One turns out to be a hyper-violent, disappointing drag. Familiar characters and themes are turned upside-down, sometimes with great cleverness, but they don't add up to a world that feels any more interesting or inviting than what has been the standard Batman origin story since the '30s. Gary Frank's pencils are expressive and kinetic, but Geoff Johns' script doesn't do his masked vigilante justice.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why vigilantism is dangerous and why citizens should not attempt to take the law into their own hands.
Why are superheroes so popular with modern audiences? What sets Batman apart from other superheroes?
How has the comics medium changed over time? What kinds of comics appeal to children and teens, and which are more suitable for adults?