Searching for the story of the origins of comic book characters is never easy, especially when behind decades of adventures as in the case of Gotham Crusader. During his long editorial life, Batman, like many other characters in the world of superhero comics, has seen his origins rewritten on several occasions, following a path of approaching the character to the new suggestions of the period. A constant renewal that he has seen in Batman – Terra Uno Box Set one of the most fascinating and contemporary examples of the redefinition of the myth of the Dark Knight.
If we think of the origins of Bats, we all know the tragedy that gave birth to Bruce Wayne’s crusade as the hero of Gotham. Several authors over the years have reshaped the Gothamite hero, but with Batman – Earth One one has the feeling of witnessing a greater rationalization of the figure of the Bat, partly depriving it of its mythological aura to insert it more into the harsh contemporary reality. No wonder that at the helm of this captivating narrative arc, recently re-proposed by Panini DC Italia in an unmissable box set, there are Geoff Johns And Gary Frank. Name dear to the readers of the DC house, Johns is the author of the new origins of various characters of the publishing house, such as Shazam or Green Lantern, occasions in which the author’s narrative has found a happy synergy between respect for the primitive identity of the characters and the need to adapt them to a new generation of readers.
Batman – Terra Uno Box Sethow to rewrite the origins of the Dark Knight
Batman was, probably, the character who represented the most difficult challenge. Since its inception, the Bat is the most human of this superhero pantheon, devoid of superpowers but driven to pursue his own crusade animated by a thirst for inner revenge and supported by his skills as a detective and fighter, honed to the limit of the impossible, but always deeply human. Reading the three volumes that I compose Batman – Terra Uno Box Set, one perceives how Johns wanted to appeal to this extremely human nature of Batman, going beyond what is the myth of the invincible hero, giving greater prominence to the man under the hood.
Johns’ vision looms as a origin story which departs deeply from the tradition of the Dark Knight, offering us a version of Batman that loses much of its heroic aura, leaving a streak of cynical humanity to emerge, which transpires not only in the portrait of Bruce Wayne, but also in the image given of the supporting actors closest to the Bat. Not a betrayal of the character’s canon, as much as one authorial will to tell the emotional origins of Batmanshowing it already in business for some time, but still immature, far from that vigilante masked by the infallible skills with which we are used to confront.
It amazes the reader that in the first tables Batman miserably fails a jump between two roofs, falling tumbling to the street. It seems a narrative antithesis compared to the classic canons of the character, yet in this first impact with Batman – Terra Uno Box Set it contains the grammar of Johns’ tale, free, exploiting the never too glorified concept of the multiverse, to explore new possibilities for the hero of Gotham. And his eye turns to the beginnings, to the first steps of a young man animated by an emotional maelstrom of anger and revenge, deluded to pursue a noble goal but initially moved by a heavy fury that prevents his lucid execution.
Gotham is ruled by Mayor Oswald Cobblepot, conniving with the bad city and head of a corrupt city, capable of gagging even the police. As in the case of James Gordona veteran cop who lives by the unwritten rules of a submissive coexistence with crime, a survival rule that he tries to teach his new partner, Harvey Bullock, who struggles to understand this silent silence. To undermine these certainties of the Gothamite society is the presence of Batman, a vigilante badly tolerated by the police, who seems determined to put an end to this criminal empire. A mission that will also have a profound impact on the lives of other individuals, leading to a revolution within Gotham that will increasingly become the city of the Bat.
While boasting the presence of symbolic characters of the myth of the Dark Knight, Batman – Terra Uno Box Set has the merit of seeking greater realism, not only from the point of view of the heroic portrait of the character, but also from the emotional dimension. The impulses of Bruce Wayne are animated by a thirst for less than noble revenge, accompanied by a cynical and disenchanted Alfred Pennyworth, far from the staid butler and closer to a disillusioned and merciless mentor figure. Johns is the perfect interpreter of these variations, sews them on characters known by readers, offering a different interpretation that fascinates, strikes for its raw realism, for its human coherence. The characters portrayed in Batman – Earth One they are ferociously authentic, animated by a humanity that is anything but heroic, but tired and suffering, souls lost in a city that chews and spits defenseless citizens without hesitation. The rise of Batman is not the path of the traditional hero, but an exhausting march between bitterness and disappointmentwhere characters like Killer Croc take on a victim connotation, with a heartbreaking poetic that exalts the tormented and damned soul engulfed in cursed Gotham.
Beyond the hero, the man
To support the poetics of Johns is Gary Frankwith the contribution of John Sibal alle chine e Brad Anderson to colors. The result is a visually compelling narrative vein, dirty in its portrayal of a spoiled city populated by hateful characters, drunk with power exhibited with arrogant expressions and ostentation of untouchable power. Frank manages to capture these emotional components by transmitting them to the best in the postures of the figures, contrasting them with the apparent inadequacy of Batman, especially in the first parts of Batman – Earth One. Where the emotional tone of the tables is most appreciated is not in the dynamics of the clashes, but in the visceral portrait of the characters, in the expressions that progressively change with the progress of the story and the awareness of each of their role in the Gothamite ecosystem. An emotional enhancement that finds in Anderson’s coloring an element of reinforcement, with colors capable of finding perfect cohesion with the shadows that lurk in Gotham, strongly touching the emotional chords of the reader.
Batman – Terra Uno Box Set It is probably, the plus version grounded of the origins of Batman, a story of biting and stinging realism that offers us the most exciting rise of the role of the Bat. No wonder it was this cycle that inspired the most recent cinematic declination of the Dark Knight, becoming the narrative pillar on which Matt Reeves built his The Batmanand probably his future Bat-verse.
Panini DC Comics collects Johns’ vision in a beautiful box set, which contains three volumes that collect the entire arc of Batman – Terra Uno Box Set. Introduce yourself in a well-made hardback edition, the three volumes show Frank’s plates printed on smooth patent paper on which Anderson’s colors stand out, in a traditional format in which the details of Frank’s drawing are fully respected. Although they can be purchased separately, the advice is to indulge in the luxury of the box set Batman – Earth Onemade of hard cardboard and embellished with graphics that reflect the tone of Johns’ narrative. A modern and contemporary declination of one of the symbolic heroes of superheroic comics.