Let's talk about DC Comics: Earth One.
The first thing to do is separate the medium from the message. The "message," or content, here is a brand-new DC Comics continuity, set on a new DC "earth," with new origins for Superman and Batman. About this aspect alone, I have reservations. Leaving aside the other aspects of DC: Earth One, this makes for the third new origin of Superman in the last ten years; it just gets repetitive. I echo Kelson that the public already knows these origins already, and to rewrite over and over again with minor tweaks doesn't break new ground, but rather just makes the characters feel stale and the comics companies seem like they can't say anything new with the characters.
That said, I'm rather eager to see Geoff Johns take what, if I'm not mistaken, is his first shot at a Batman solo title.
I also have to quibble with the name, "Earth One." Well, we know that the established DC Comics continuity made up of 52 earths, with the main continuity called "New Earth"; should readers take from the name that this new continuity takes place on Earth-1 of the 52 (which I thought had already been established as something else in Trinity)? Else, unless the multiverse concept will have resonance in these new books, why call it Earth One at all? i imagine this is supposed to be some take on "Year One," but having "Earth" in these seems unnecessarily confusing.
That said ...
I am so very, very excited about this announcement. Consider this: original graphic novels -- trades, TPBs, whatever you want to call them -- about DC Comics superheroes, set in their own continuity. That is, not Elseworlds or specials or Prestige Format one-shots, but books set in a (if not the) continuity. Books that build on one another, books that follow one another, and books that cross over (or why else have continuity?).
What excites me is that for the first time, this very blog (and wait-for-traders all over the Internet) could talk about a new Superman or Batman adventure that's part of continuity (well, a continuity) right when it comes out. That is, the Earth One books, at last, won't be collections of books that everyone else has already read -- instead they'll be new, brand new, in graphic novel format.
Comic Book Resources quotes Geoff Johns that the plan is for two novels every year. My sense is that what DC has announced is much like how manga is produced -- not individual issues, but collected volumes -- but that manga volumes come out at a much faster rate. It seems to me that if the first volume is the origin of Superman and Batman, and the second volume introduces some villains ... we'll be at volume four before we really start getting in to meaty stories. I'm happy about this, but would it be too much to hope for perhaps three volumes a year? That way, by the end of the second year, the titles can start feeding in to an Earth One Justice League ...
Bottom line, I consider this a red-letter day, and a great step forward for lovers of collected comics. Keep following Collected Editions, and we'll have more on Earth One as it's revealed. How fun!
What do you think of DC Comics: Earth One? What's the next title you'd like to see after Superman and Batman? Chime in!