Batman - Terra Uno Casket, review: the Dark Knight according to Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

Batman - Terra Uno Casket, review: the Dark Knight according to Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

Batman - Terra Uno Casket, review

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 the 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 has seen in Batman - Terra Uno Casket 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 are all well aware of the tragedy that gave birth to Bruce Wayne's crusade as Gotham's hero. Over the years, several authors have given new shape to the Gothamite hero, but with Batman - Earth One you have 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 reality. Contemporary. No wonder that at the helm of this captivating story 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, how to rewrite the origins of the Dark Knight

Johns' vision emerges as an origin story that diverges deeply from the tradition of the Dark Knight, offering us a version of Batman that loses much of its heroic aura, letting a vein emerge of cynical humanity, which transpires not only in the portrait of Bruce Wayne, but also in the image given by the supporting actors closest to the Bat. Not a betrayal of the character's canon, but an authorial will to tell the emotional origins of Batman, showing him 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, tumbling into the street. It seems a narrative antithesis to the classic canons of the character, yet in this first impact with Batman - Terra Uno Cofanetto the grammar of Johns' story is contained, free, exploiting the never too glorified concept of the multiverse, to explore new possibilities for the Gotham hero. 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 at the head of a corrupt city, capable of gagging even the police. As in the case of James Gordon, a veteran policeman 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.

Beyond the hero, man

Supporting Johns' poetics is Gary Frank, with the contribution of John Sibal to inks and Brad Anderson to colors. The result is a visually compelling narrative vein, dirty in its portrayal of a spoiled city populated by hateful, power-drunk characters 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 portrayal 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 Casket is, probably, the most grounded version of Batman's origins, a tale 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 Batman, and 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. Presented in a well-made hardcover 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 Batman - Terra Uno box, made 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.

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