That Batman Earth One Vol 1 ranked #1 Best-selling series in the New York Times is no surprise. That was a fantastic book and like all fantastic things, the difficulty is following it up with a companion worthy of the predecessor.

Geoff Johns takes us further into his reimagined Gotham mythos with a second volume of hard-boiled Bat that once more puts an interesting twist on established characters.

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I’ve been a Batman fan for coming up thirty years. I have a young son who plays with Batman Imaginext figures, and he learns about the characters from me, his old man, and go-to guy for all things comic book.

The truth is, I disengaged from comic book Batman a long time ago, as in the standard run of things. I tended to stick to buying collected editions of landmark storylines anyway, or picked up particularly excellent books such as The Long Halloween. When I saw the Batman R.I.P storyline and what span off from that – the battle for the cape and cowl, I was immediately taken back to the big storyline of my childhood: Knightfall.

I guess these things are circular and, with that in mind I decided I would admire the character from afar, through different mediums. If the books and I were parting company, I always had Christopher Nolan’s vision to cling to, and the amazing Arkham games, to get my fix.

Then came Earth One. With The Long Halloween and Frank Miller’s Year One, who needs another book about Bruce Wayne starting out as Batman, right?

Wrong. The freedom Geoff Johns has in Earth One allows him to warp what you know into something else… something different, but altogether recognisable.

Spoilers of Vol 1 follow so it might be time to jump out of this review…

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So here we are in Gotham after the demise of Mayor Cobblepot. His crooked regime has continued without him, however, as several figureheads continue a corrupt network of officials, meaning little has changed.

Street scum skulk in the shadows, afraid of the mythical vigilante who stalks them. And that mythical vigilante is still learning the ropes. This is what I love about this particular version of Batman, he screws up, a lot. Alfred is tougher than him in these stories.

Torn between the seemingly futile mission he has tasked himself with, and Alfred’s insistence that it’s time to take a few scalps to make the bad guys stay in cover, Batman must decide what he is, and who he is.

Unfortunately, a terrorist has appeared in the city and he has a lot of questions to ask… and he wants to know who Batman is, too. His other questions tend to be ones which, when answered incorrectly, result in bombs being detonated.

In this volume we see a great many more aspects of Batman’s universe slot into place, many of them sit close to the Nolan-verse as I’ve noticed it is nicknamed, and some of which are an amalgam of Arkham and the traditional established continuum.

I’m saying nothing more, but if you love your Batman, you’ll love this!

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