The cover art for Batman: Earth One has been released over the past week. The book, which was initially due for release in 2010 now has a scheduled release date of mid-2012 and now almost a year after its proposed release date, we finally get to see….the cover. Some Gary Frank character designs have previously been released, but this is the first sign movement towards an actual release of the book.
Consider me underwhelmed.
First of all, I’ll deal with the matter of the cover itself. I actually do like the overall cover. It’s very much in line with the cover design of Superman: Earth One, with the Earth One tag being displayed under an emblem on a black strip. Though the cover is much darker and ominous looking than the Superman book was, which is absolutely in line with the character and the story being told but ain’t going to make the book stand out on the shelves.
As for the actual illustration on the cover, I think that something more closely resembling that of the Superman book. The cover art as it stands right now reminds me way too much of Batman: Year One. I’m a big fan of Batman: Year One and I can’t wait to see the Blu Ray movie that’s being released soon, but I think that the Earth One line should be distancing itself from previous origin stories as much as possible.
For me the biggest issue with Batman: Earth One is the timing, or rather the issue that the timing creates. When the Earth One line was first announced, it was intended to do certain things. It was intended to show us what a previously unseen part of the DC Multiverse was like and also give us a brand new, modern take on well-known characters. But that was then, and this isn’t
Next month, DC Comics will be rebooted or restarted or relaunched, it all depends on who you ask. One of the few things that we do know about the new DC Universe is that it’s designed to give us a brand new, modern take on well-known characters. Sound familiar?
In announcing that the Earth One line is continuing and that the first post-relaunch book is being released early next year, DC are either saying that the Multiverse will still exist in the new order and that the post-relaunch Universes are ostensibly going to be the same as they are pre-relaunch. If Earth One is the same universe next year as it was last year, does that mean that only one universe is being altered after Flashpoint?
We’ve been told for months that everything will change in a flash. Possibly not as much will change as we thought.
The only difference that I can really see between Earth One and the New DCU is that the Earth One books are set in a DC Universe where the Age of Superheroes is beginning today (or back in 2010 if you want to get technical) whereas in the New DCU, the Age of Superheroes began 5 years ago. It’s not much of a distinction, and I don’t know if it’s going to be enough.
A few years ago, the All Star line of books was compared to the Ultmate Marvel line of books. Maybe we should start calling the Earth One line “Penultimate DC”.