In the world of superhero comics, there remains one origin above all others, no matter how many times it is retold: an alley, a family, a gun, and a criminal, Batman's origin is as terrifying as they come. Today, Geoff Johns, superstar scribe and DC's Chief Creative Officer, leaves a notable mark on the character by taking it in a new direction in Batman: Earth One, a re-imagining of the Batman mythos from the ground floor. To celebrate the book's release day, Geoff Johns answered a few questions about his version of Batman's origin, and he provided two exclusive pages to the new graphic novel (available after the jump).
Omnivoracious.com: Batman: Earth One puts a modern-day spin on Batman's origin. What facets of Batman (and Bruce Wayne) did you focus on modernizing?
Geoff Johns: I think the image on the cover says it all—we wanted to see his eyes. Most of the time, Batman's eyes are white in the comics. We wanted to make this more about a flawed, vulnerable, troubled young guy who is on an arguably insane mission of revenge. So I'm not sure it's modernizing so much as humanizing. Gary and I pulled everything back. He's not the Batman who can tear about 30 S.W.A.T. team members without breaking a sweat. He's not the Batman who has invented a Batmobile. There is no Batmobile. He's got a car with tinted windows. He hasn't even thought of the idea of a Batmobile yet. You see in the very first pages what he carries in his utility belt.
It's more about Bruce than Batman. And his journey parallels a lot of the other main characters in the series—once you survive a tragedy someone else hasn’t, where does your life go? How does that affect you? One character in particular has given up. This is about learning to never give up.
Geoff Johns: Batman's not the best as what he does. Alfred's relationship with Bruce, Bruce's mother, Bruce's mission, the cops, Gotham's streets, the secret in the basement, the red dirt and the police man from Los Angeles. It's just a different take on the character.
Omni: What Batman characters were you particularly excited about modernizing?
Geoff Johns: Alfred and the police. Their stories will speak for themselves, I think.
Omni: While you've written Batman in Justice League, this is your first time writing him in a solo story. What would you say is the most important part to understanding the Dark Knight?
Geoff Johns: Understanding Bruce. I think, unfortunately, we all understand loss. And this is loss at its very core. A boy and his parents. How you fill that bottomless pit inside you is a bit of a fruitless journey. But Bruce comes to a very big revelation within the story that ultimately changes what Batman is to him and, I think, us.