cover image Batman: Earth One Vol. 2

Batman: Earth One Vol. 2

Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. DC Comics, $24.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-40124-185-8

For someone known for using intertwining continuity on books such as Green Lantern, Superman and the Justice League, writer Johns feels right in his element creating a new Batman and Gotham City from scratch. This graphic novel finds a lot of success in turning old stories into something that plays well in the modern day. The updates%E2%80%93from Bruce Wayne's lack of detective skills to the transformation of Alfred into a former soldier%E2%80%93make perfect sense and serve the story well. The adaption of classic Batman villain The Riddler into a cunning serial killer is particularly well played, grounding a character who tends to veer on the comedic side. Gotham under the pen of Johns is ugly, and artist Frank draws ugly beautifully, making even the white knight characters feel like they have shades of gray. The only significant flaw lies with the developments of the Dent family, which feels forced into the narrative. Together, though, Johns and Frank are able to revitalize a concept that nobody knew needed to be revitalized, breathing new life into a 75 year-old pop culture icon. (May)