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Batman: Earth One
Batman Earth One Vol 1 1.jpg
Cover for Batman: Earth One by Gary Frank
Publication information
Publisher Earth One (DC Comics)
Genre Superhero
Publication date July 10, 2012
Main character(s) Batman
Creative team
Writer(s) Geoff Johns
Artist(s) Gary Frank
Penciller(s) Gary Frank
Inker(s) Jonathan Sibal
Letterer(s) Rob Leigh
Colorist(s) Brad Anderson

Batman: Earth One is a graphic novel that was released on July 4, 2012.[1] A part of the Earth One line, the novel was written by Geoff Johns and features art by Gary Frank.[2] A sequel was announced for 2013, but never came out. In January 2014 however, artist Gary Frank revealed a panel of Volume 2, confirming the existence of the project.[3]

Publication history

Batman: Earth One is the second original graphic novel to be announced by DC Comics as part of the Earth One line of graphic novels established in 2009.[4] It follows the 2010 release of Superman: Earth One, marking the first collaboration between writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank on a Batman story.[5]


Bruce Wayne is the eight-year-old son of Dr. Thomas Wayne, a mayoral candidate for Gotham City, and Martha Wayne (née Arkham). After receiving death threats, Thomas contacts his friend Alfred Pennyworth to become the head of security at Wayne Manor.

During an outing with his parents, Bruce is taken hostage by a mugger. He demands that the Waynes pay a ransom for the return of their son and attempts to remove Martha's pearl necklace. Thomas tries to intervene and the criminal shoots them both in front of Bruce. Following Bruce's return to Wayne Manor, Alfred learns that he has been named as Bruce's legal guardian by the Wayne parents in the event of their absence. Alfred agrees and presents himself to Bruce as his butler.

As a teenager, Bruce befriends his classmate, Jessica Dent, and develops a rivalry with her twin brother, Harvey Dent. He also learns about Arkham Manor, where Martha lived as a child. Martha's mother suffered a mental breakdown when Martha was twelve years-old, murdering her husband with a sledgehammer, and committing suicide by jumping off a balcony. Arkham Manor is believed to be cursed due to the actions of Martha's mother, causing all members of the Arkham bloodline to become insane.

Bruce is suddenly inspired following a teenage experience at Wayne Manor and shortly afterwards convinces Alfred to train him in various forms of martial arts and acrobatics. Bruce also learns investigative techniques. Following this training, he discovers evidence that Mayor Oswald Cobblepot was involved in his parents' assassination.

In his mid-twenties, Bruce dons a bat-themed costume as a disguise, inspired by his pre-training experience at Wayne Manor. Meanwhile, Detective James Gordon of the Gotham City Police Department is investigating a string of disappearances involving young girls between the ages of thirteen and fifteen. The case is shortly put on hold, so that Gordon can meet his new partner, Harvey Bullock, an experienced LAPD detective who has come to Gotham to solve the Wayne murders in order to revive a fading career.

Following an altercation between Cobblepot's bodyguards and Bruce at a function organized by the mayor, Bruce's alter ego is named "Batman" by the press and the topic becomes a public sensation. Cobblepot, infuriated by Batman's actions at the event, orders one of his henchmen, a serial killer named "Birthday Boy", to take care of Jacob Weaver, a former policeman who is employed by Cobblepot and the subject of a search by Batman. Birthday Boy is then shown to be responsible for the kidnappings that Gordon had been investigating.

After Weaver is killed, Batman's investigation leads him to Arkham Manor, where Birthday Boy had been placing his victims. A series of events then leads to the kidnapping of Gordon's seventeen-year-old daughter, Barbara, by Axe, a petty thug who previously antagonized Gordon, at the behest of Cobblepot. Gordon then learns that Bullock is indirectly responsible for Barbara's kidnapping, and an apologetic Bullock helps Gordon find Axe, who is violently forced to reveal Barbara's location.

While Barbara struggles against Birthday Boy, Batman, Gordon and Bullock unite in the search for her. Batman eventually intercepts Birthday Boy while Gordon rescues Barbara; Batman soon overpowers the serial killer, who is then arrested by Gordon and Bullock. In a subsequent confrontation between Batman and Cobblepot, the mayor reveals that his intention was for Weaver to murder the Waynes, but the couple ran into the mugger instead. Cobblepot then prepares to kill an unmasked Bruce but is fatally shot by Alfred. Axe is arrested and Birthday Boy is transferred to the Crane Institute for the Criminally Insane, run by Dr. Jonathan Crane (the serial killer’s identity is revealed as Ray Salinger, an escapee from Crane's hospital).

Barbara begins to idolize Batman, studying martial arts and criminology, and sketching potential "Batgirl" costumes. Bullock, on the other hand, is traumatized by his experiences and succumbs to alcoholism. After his crimes are posthumously outed, Jessica Dent replaces Cobblepot as the Mayor. Bruce is left disappointed by the truth behind his parents' death, but with Alfred's encouragement, decides that he will continue on to refine his new persona as Batman.

The story concludes with the depiction of an enigmatic man reviewing information on Batman.

Main characters

Bruce Wayne/Batman

The disillusioned heir of the Wayne and Arkham families; after his parents' death, Bruce vows to find their killers. Eventually, his quest for revenge leads him to discover a cause greater than his personal vendetta. Wishing to intimidate the criminal element in Gotham, Bruce dresses as a bat to strike fear in them, preparing himself by training in various forms of martial arts available from his legal guardian, Alfred Pennyworth, as well as teaching himself to be a skilled detective. Bruce refuses to use conventional firearms against his opponents, remembering his parents. Instead he uses resources from his family's company to design an arsenal for himself and seeks Lucius Fox's aid to develop it.

Alfred Pennyworth

A former soldier of the Royal Marines, a friend of Thomas Wayne, and a skilled martial artist and sharpshooter. After his friend's murder, Alfred become Bruce Wayne's legal guardian and trains him in martial arts. He has a daughter living in Seoul, South Korea with her mother, where Alfred had previously worked at a security firm. In the military, Alfred lost a leg in an explosion. After Thomas Wayne saved his life following the explosion, he helps create a prosthetic leg to replace the one that Alfred lost, leaving Alfred indebted to Thomas's generosity. Alfred's experiences with violence and the conditions in Gotham have caused him to develope a pessimistic and cynical view towards the world and people in general, though Bruce seems to have restored his faith a little.

James Gordon

Once an idealistic cop, the mysterious death of his wife has left Gordon disillusioned, and he tries to protect his daughter from the crime-ridden Gotham City. Faced with his new partner, Harvey Bullock, and the subsequent emergence of the vigilante dubbed as Batman, Gordon's own principles are ultimately revived, and sets to once again become the moral and just policeman he once was in order to fight the corruption of Gotham.

Barbara Gordon

A 17-year-old library assistant and daughter of James Gordon, Barbara lost her mother at an early age. Taking on a supportive role for her increasingly disillusioned father, Barbara is soon captured by Mayor Cobblepot's henchman, the Birthday Boy. Her rescue by Batman then inspires her to consider a role in vigilantism.

Harvey Bullock

A decent yet arrogant police detective from the Los Angeles Police Department, and the host of the cancelled reality show "Hollywood Detectives", Bullock requests to transfer to Gotham to look for the chance to revive his fame. Harvey works together with his unwilling partner, James Gordon, at first to attempt to solve the Waynes' cold case murder, then to rescue James' daughter Barbara from the serial killer, the Birthday Boy. It is strongly implied that Harvey takes up drinking as a coping mechanism after witnessing the travesties that occurred in Arkham House, the Birthday Boy's dwelling.

Lucius Fox

A young but brilliant intern at Wayne Medical, Fox wishes to develop a cybernetic prosthetic for his niece, who has lost her arm in an accident. After helping repair and even perfected Bruce Wayne's grapnel, he deduces that the young billionaire is the vigilante Batman after witnessing him using the same device on the news. It is implied in the end of the story that Lucius has come to accept his new role as a silent equipment developer for Batman, preparing a set of Batarangs for use.

Oswald Cobblepot

The current, corrupt mayor of Gotham City, Cobblepot was an opponent of Thomas Wayne during his mayoral campaign. Bruce Wayne long suspects that Cobblepot arranged his parents' murder, and becomes Batman to verify it and avenge their death. It is revealed that in the past, Cobblepot did plan for the Waynes to be murdered, but was not ultimately responsible for their death. Cobblepot is the only person other than Alfred to discover Batman's secret identity, but is soon killed by Alfred as he is about to kill a vulnerable and unmasked Bruce.

Jacob Weaver

Once a police detective of Gotham City Police Department, Weaver quit the force to work for Cobblepot. Weaver is Bruce Wayne’s primary suspect as the gunman of his parents’ murder.

Ray Salinger (the Birthday Boy)

A serial killer who had escaped from Crane Institute under Cobblepot's arrangements, Salinger has a murderous fixation with his first victim Amanda Grant. The Birthday Boy is also the first costumed criminal that Batman encounters.


A drug dealer who works for Oswald Cobblepot, Axe finds pleasure in intimidating honest police officers like James Gordon. He is eventually beaten and arrested after the introduction of Gordon's new partner, Harvey Bullock.

Harvey Dent

Gotham City's District Attorney and a political enemy of Oswald Cobblepot alongside his twin sister, Jessica. Dent was a former bully of Bruce Wayne when they were both teenagers. It is implied that Wayne and Dent still do not get along well.

Jessica Dent

The twin sister of Harvey Dent and the president of the city's board of supervisors, Jessica has been Bruce Wayne's friend since they were teenagers. She is well known in the city for her ongoing feud with Mayor Oswald Cobblepot, and assumes the role of Mayor following Cobblepot's death.


Batman: Earth One received mostly positive reviews: Barnes & Noble lists the graphic novel as one of the "Best Quirky, Beautiful, Different Books of 2012."[6] It peaked at #9 on The New York Times Hardcover Graphic Book Bestseller list.[7]


  1. Sunu, Steve (February 13, 2012). ""BATMAN: EARTH ONE" HITS IN JULY". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  2. Young, Bryan (June 29, 2012). "Batman Rebooted? An Exclusive Look at Batman: Earth One". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  3. Gary Frank Confirms "Batman: Earth One" Vol. 2 For 2013 - Comic Book Resources
  4. Segura, Alex (December 7, 2009). "WELCOME TO EARTH ONE". DC: The Source. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  5. "AICN COMICS STM EXCLUSIVE Q&@ w JMS & GEOFF JOHNS on DC EARTH ONE!". Ain't It Cool News. December 7, 2009. Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
  6. "Best Quirky, Beautiful, Different Books of 2012". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  7. "Best Sellers". The New York Times. October 14, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 

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