I bought it for my daughter because she loves comic books, graphic novels and super heroes. When I saw in the bookstore I thought, “Great! What a perfect gift.” But it was the picture on the front cover, specifically the eyes that drew me in as a reader. The front cover pictures young Bruce Wayne standing in the rain at his parents’ graveside. Alfred is standing behind him, sheltering Bruce with an umbrella. Then looming behind that scene is the cowl of Batman with his piercing eyes looking right at the reader. It reminds me of the style in which centuries old icons were painted. Instead of the point of perspective vanishing off in the distance of the painting, that traditional perspective is reversed in sacred icons. The perspective vanishes into you, the viewer. You are a part of the sacred scene. Check out this well-known icon and see for yourself as you seem to be invited to the table of the Old Testament Trinity by Andrei Rublev.
The reader of Batman: Earth One is a part of the story before you even open the book. You are immediate drawn into the story through those eyes and the forced perspective the artist. We stand on the opposite side of the grave mourning with Bruce Wayne. But we see more. We know what will become of Wayne’s grief.
The story flashes back and forth between “then” and “now” – Bruce Wayne as a boy and Batman learning his way as someone seeking vengeance not only for him but for others as well. I am a casual fan of the more recent Batman incarnations. I grew up watching (and loving) the campy Batman starring Adam West on TV. But now…I am hooked. This is the first volume of the Batman: Earth One series. I feel the impatient frustration of all those Harry Potter and Hunger Games readers who would finish a book and then groan in misery because there was such a long wait until the next one was published.
If you have never read comic books or graphic novels, consider yourself properly introduced. There is something for everyone: the story is familiar with clever new twists and the drawings are beautiful. (Even the fight scenes!) For now, I think I will send this copy off to my daughter at college as I had planned. I will buy another one for myself to re-read as I wait, not so patiently, for the next one.