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Comic Book / Batman: Earth One

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Batman: Earth One is a 2012 graphic novel from DC Comics written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank. The second installment of DC's Earth One line after Superman: Earth One, it aims to update the story of the Dark Knight for a new generation.

You know the basics of the story: Young Bruce Wayne sees his parents brutally gunned down in front of his eyes, and devotes his life to fighting crime, aided by his trustworthy butler, Alfred Pennyworth, and the stalwart cop James Gordon... except Alfred isn't really a butler. And James Gordon isn't very stalwart. And Bruce isn't about "fighting crime" so much as he is about "fighting the man who killed his parents": the mayor of Gotham City, Oswald Cobblepot. About the only thing to remain the same is Gotham, which is as much a Crapsack World as ever.


WARNING: Spoilers for volumes 1 and 2 are unmarked.

Batman: Earth One provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Origin Connection: In an odd way: in Earth-One, Harvey Dent is a childhood enemy of Bruce (the friendship that they sometimes share across continuities is here given to Jessica) and retains a major grudge against him well into adulthood. When he dies in Jessica's arms, the trauma of it somehow awakens a Split Personality in Jessica that identifies as Harvey, with all of his loathing of Bruce, leading her to become this universe's version of Two-Face.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • The entire point of the retelling, which makes subtle but still far-reaching changes to the established Batman mythos. Batman is not a near-perfect crimefighter, but what you'd expect from a man who's dedicated himself to revenge: a physically skilled but otherwise unremarkable vigilante who knows next to nothing about actual detective and research work. Unlike other revisions, he doesn't get better at this, instead enlisting allies in Killer Croc and Cat.
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    • While canonically, Gordon is the last honest cop in Gotham and Bullock is a cynical Jerk with a Heart of Gold, their dynamic is switched here. Bullock is a young idealist and Gordon is a jaded and corrupt cop who takes bribes, albeit reluctantly. The ending shows them moving towards their original dynamic with Bullock traumatized by the events and Gordon's faith in justice renewed.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Harvey Bullock is a handsome former TV star, instead of an overweight, unshaven wreck. Even after his descent into alcoholism and acquisition of perma-stubble, he's never shown to get out-of-shape the way most other versions of him do.
    • Oswald Cobblepot may not be a good-looking man, but he's a damn sight better than the heavyset, and frequently disfigured Penguin of the mainstream comics. This makes sense, as he probably wouldn't have been elected mayor of Gotham with his canon appearance.
    • Compared to the horrific scarring Harvey Dent usually bears, Jessica's relatively minor burns are definitely this once it's revealed she's this continuity's Two-Face.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Alfred's military background is played up a lot more than it is in most adaptations. In this version, he's a former mercenary who's initially brought on as the Wayne family's bodyguard, only to receive custody of Bruce when Thomas Wayne is killed. Though he sarcastically refers to himself as a butler (even though he isn't), he's still very capable in a fight by the time Bruce becomes Batman.
    • Oswald Cobblepot as well. He's not terribly formidable in a fight (though he holds his own against Bruce), but the fact that he's the Mayor of Gotham means that he's much more dangerous here than in most other versions.
  • Adaptational Dumbass:
    • He has all the heroism of the traditional Batman, but his not undertaking the usual round-the-world crimefighting education means that here Bruce is a piss-poor detective, to the point of cluelessly trampling all over a crime scene in Volume 2 and asking Gordon for tutoring in this area. Volume 3 sees him paying Catwoman to sniff out the source of the gangs' weaponry when he proves unable to do it himself in the limited time available.
    • Bullock's usual role is also flipped on its head. He's normally a grizzled veteran who's got a wealth of connections on the street and intimate knowledge of the corrupt way Gotham works. Here's he's new to the city and has to have everything about how Gotham works (including why cops don't hassle criminals) explained to him by Gordon.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Killer Croc is a pretty decent guy here, if misunderstood. In most continuities he's depicted as a savage monster who kills and eats people for fun, albeit a tragic one whose villainy is informed by everyone treating him like a monster purely for looking like one. This version is basically just a normal human who's been put under extreme circumstances and sought out isolation rather than lashing out with murder. While he does attack those who cross his path, it's only because of how he was previously treated. He starts reconsidering after seeing the carnage left by Riddler's train bombing and ends up saving Bruce from Riddler. Volume 3 has him joining Batman's new Outsiders.
    • Gillian Loeb appears as Gordon's precinct Captain and is a Reasonable Authority Figure with no sign of corruption.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • In most adaptations, Harvey Dent is portrayed as a troubled but nice guy before he becomes Two-Face. Here Harvey lacks the mainstream version's pre-scarring charm and charisma and comes off as a self-righteous, arrogant prick from the beginning and dies before he even becomes Two-Face. Notably, it's Jessica that has his usual trust in Bruce/Batman, while he's despised Wayne for years due to his interest in his sister.
    • She helps Batman and shows shades of flirting with him, but this Catwoman is much more blatant about being paid in exchange for helping him.
  • Adaptational Late Appearance: The Joker is only introduced at the very end of volume 3, as a Sequel Hook, long after the appearance of Killer Croc, the Penguin, Riddler, Clayface, Two-Face, and Catwoman, when in most media (including the mainline comics) he appears long before any of them.
  • Adaptational Mundanity: The series more or less gives one of the most grounded interpretations of Batman yet, showing that most people consider the idea of Batman ridiculous (including Alfred), how he has a lot of trouble taking down criminals (at first) because he doesn't know multiple martial arts or have intensive detective training, and most of the supervillains are more realistic than theatrical (Penguin is a corrupt politician with underworld connections, the Riddler is a Mad Bomber using his motif to disguise his simple thievery, Croc is just a misunderstood guy with scaly skin rather than a flesh-eating serial killer with Super Strength). The bat signal is also a custom one-way cellphone rather than the dramatic searchlight it usually is.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Gordon gets hit by this, though reluctantly. While usually depicted as a resolutely incorruptible police officer, here he has a history of taking payoffs from the mob purely out of fear for his family (it's implied his wife was killed because he asked too many questions). His character arc is learning to stop taking shit from low-level crooks and stand up to the enablers on the force, after working with Bullock reminds him of what it really means to be a cop, hinting that like Batman he will grow into his mainstream self in time.
    • The Penguin too. Although it's very much Depending on the Writer, most versions have at least some lines they won't cross. This Cobblepot knowingly hands over the teenage daughters of those that cross him to the Birthday Boy, a serial killer that invariably slaughters them.
    • In Volume 2, Riddler has this. He's a Mad Bomber who wants to take control of the late Mayor Cobblepot's crime network, and in terms of riddles, he has none of his main counterpart's Honor Before Reason, lying about being willing to not kill a train full of people when Batman successfully solves one of his riddles.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • The Earth-One version of Batman more or less learned everything he knows about fighting from Alfred, having never traveled around the world mastering different forms of martial arts like his mainstream counterpart, never learned the different kinds of medicine and other forms of being a polymath of his main counterpart, including being a rather poor detective. It shows when he has trouble fighting off a group of cops, and when he gets caught off guard by the Penguin.
    • James Gordon is nowhere near as brave and incorruptible as his mainstream counterpart. He's just as corrupt and ineffectual as the other Gotham cops, though more out of fear of reprisal against his family than greed; he speculates, though it's never confirmed, that his wife was killed as retaliation for his looking into things too much. It's still jarring to see him basically tell Bullock to not arrest certain criminals because they're untouchable.
    • Killer Croc, in the sense that he doesn't have a three-digit murder record like his original self.
  • The Alcoholic: Harvey Bullock, at the end of the first book. The Birthday Boy case destroyed him. Subsequent books show that while he'll come through when it counts, he'll still seek refuge in a bottle at the first opportunity.
  • Alternate Continuity: Is in its own continuity, separate from the main DC Universe. An extra in Superman: Earth One Volume 2 confirms that both Earth-One stories take place in the same universe, which was backed up by The Multiversity saying that all Earth One books take place in the same universe, but haven't connected yet.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Killer Croc tells Batman he suffers from ichthyosis, which is a family of genetic disorders that do cause scaly skin; Croc's condition, though, is not like any known cases— in particular, he appears to have bony plates on his brow, which doesn't happen.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Harvey has gasoline poured on his face and lit, making it appear this is his origin as Two-Face. But then he dies from his injuries while Jessica presses her face against his, with the trauma causing her to snap and develop a split-personality.
    • Done again with the same characters in volume 3, as Jessica is tormented by what appears to be Harvey Back from the Dead, with one panel even showing his distinctive scarred visage and Bruce discovering his body is missing. But when Batman tries to stop him, he only finds Harvey's still-dead corpse, and Jessica's split-personality "Harvey" is the true villain of the piece.
  • Batter Up!: Bullock, when he decides to go after Axe.
  • Battle Butler: Played with. Alfred is not a butler, but decides to call himself just that after he takes custody of Bruce. As for the battle part, well...
  • Bedlam House: Averted with the Arkham Mansion, which hasn't yet been converted into an insane asylum at the time of the story, although it's just as derelict and nightmarish as ever.
  • Big Bad:
    • Mayor Oswald Cobblepot for Volume One.
    • The Riddler in Volume Two.
    • Two-Face aka Jessica Dent in Volume Three.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Harvey Dent is EXTREMELY protective of his sister Jessica. Even the version of him in Jessica's head.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Alfred's rescue of Batman at the end of the first volume.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Subverted with Waylon. After he's shot, he coughs a lot of blood and looks like he's gone, only to reappear a few pages later bandaged but fine, in Alfred's company.
  • Body Horror: Killer Croc, who's specifically played up as having a horrible skin disease rather than some bizarre mutation.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: The 15-year-old girl reported missing, with birthday candles placed at her open window. She presumably shows up later as the Birthday Boy's first in-comic victim.
  • The Cameo: Cris Allen and Rene Montoya appear, unnamed, near the end of Vol 1. They reappear and are named in Vol 2.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Badly losing a fight to Alfred (who's trying to show him he's not ready for the evils of Gotham), Bruce resorts to kicking his false leg out from under him and incapacitating his mentor. Far from being angry, Alfred concedes he might be ready after all.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting
  • Composite Character:
    • In this version, Martha Wayne was born Martha Arkham, and given she dies as tradition, this makes Batman himself the Arkham family's last living heir, much like Dr. Jeremiah Arkham in the main series.
    • This version of Clayface combines three different alter egos of the character, Preston Payne, Matt Hagen, and Basil Karlo, into one, with the explanation that he's been faking his identity for years with various personas stolen from other people.
  • Corrupt Politician: Oswald Cobblepot is this all the way. Bonus points for resembling a Napoleon-sized Richard Nixon.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Harvey Bullock arrives in Gotham, naive and happy, hoping to capitalize on being a detective in the most dangerous city in America. But very soon the city begins to break him as he realizes how deep the corruption and fear run, culminating in him witnessing the countless rotting corpses of Birthday Boy's victims in Arkham. Even in Volume 3, he's still unable to go back to Arkham.
    Bartender: What can I get you, pal?
    Harvey Bullock: Whatever's the strongest.
  • Dating Catwoman: Although by part 3, Selina "Catwoman" Kyle provides some sexual tension, Bruce Wayne is courting and in love with Jessica Dent, who is Two Face in this Earth One version, also knows that Wayne is Batman, and loves him back (during her sanity moments).
  • Dead All Along:
    • Double subversion. Although Harvey Dent supposedly died in the second story, increasing evidence in the third story builds up that he somehow faked his death, only for it to turn out he really was dead... sort of. His twin sister went insane with his death, taking on his persona as a split personality and hiring Clayface as a partner in crime.
    • Another double subversion. Bruce's grandfather, whom he thought was killed before he was born, suddenly turns up alive, apparently having faked his death and gone into hiding for decades. At the end however, it turns out that he was actually Clayface in disguise.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Oswald Cobblepot is shot and killed by Alfred at the end of the first volume.
    • Harvey Dent is not merely scarred by the burns he receives from Sal Maroni, but dies from them.
  • Death by Secret Identity: Oswald Cobblepot discovers Batman's identity right before he gets killed.
  • Decomposite Character/Gender Flip: Two-Face. While Harvey Dent is still present, still a D.A. determined to eliminate crime and corruption and still gets a face-full of fire to give him his famous scarring, his twin sister Jessica is the one who gets his normal childhood friendship with Bruce, allies with Batman and eventually becomes Two-Faced and crazy after Harvey dies.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Gotham is particularly brutal here, with every single institution corrupted. Harvey Dent is being worn down by the corruption, has to campaign in secret, and is no white knight himself. Gordon is basically a dirty cop at the start of the story, his spirit crushed. Batman here is no omni-disciplinary expert, as he's young and you cannot be perfect at fighting, driving, detective work and science. Lethal force is repeatedly encouraged by Alfred, and shown to be a more effective alternative to Bruce's methods.
    • BUT Batman still acts as a symbol of hope to Gotham and can cause effective change, while Gordon has his hope restored and begins to train Batman in detective work. And while Bruce was ultimately unable to do anything about Cobblepot's corrupt hold on Gotham, he is shown to be fully capable of taking down a terrorist threat like the Riddler without resorting to taking his life. Slowly and steadily, Bruce resembles the older and more typical Batman more and more.
  • Demoted to Extra: Harvey Dent. He is still D.A., but his sister plays more of a role than he does. Harvey does show up in a flashback to deliver some exposition and get punched in the face by an angry Bruce. He plays a much bigger role in volume 2 though, and even after death is the Greater-Scope Villain of volume 3.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Harvey Bullock goes crashing through this after he hits a light in the aforementioned basement.
  • Expy: Birthday Boy is a combination of Bane (big well-muscled Implacable Man who wears a full head-mask, but without the Venom) and Victor Zsasz (Serial Killer brandishing a knife with a thing for young ladies).
  • Gender Flip: This universe's version of Two-Face isn't Harvey Dent, but his twin sister Jessica.
  • Glory Hound: In Earth-One, Bullock is a former TV detective show host who transfers into Gotham because he likes the publicity of solving unresolved murder cases, aiming to solve the Wayne murders to aid his big leap into film. He gets it pretty severely beaten out of him by the end, after his faking Gordon's signature to review their case file gets Barbara abducted and almost killed once Cobblepot gets wind of it.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Subverted.
    Harvey Bullock: This is Gotham City. It's bad cop, bad cop!
  • Handicapped Badass: Alfred has a limp and uses a cane. A fight with Bruce shows that his right leg has a prosthetic, thus the need for a cane. Thomas Wayne apparently made it for him during the war they met in.
  • Haunted House: How most Gothamites see the old Arkham Mansion, which is not an Asylum yet. It's been abandoned ever since Martha Arkham's mother killed her husband and herself in it, and it has a reputation for driving people insane.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Bullock when he discovers the Birthday Boy's previous victims. It takes the entirety of volume 2 and a lot of What the Hell, Hero? speeches from Gordon for him to snap out of it - and even then volume 3 shows he's still prone to hitting the bottle.
    • Bruce Wayne right after he sees his parents murdered.
  • Heroic Wannabe: Batman actually starts out this way, not being nearly ready enough for the job, being a failure at keeping a low profile, and equipped with malfunctioning gadgetry to boot. As the story progresses, he becomes a more capable fighter and finds a better source of equipment, slowly becoming the badass we all know and love.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Twice in volume 3;
    • Played With regarding Jessica Dent, the new Two-Face. Her brother Harvey is dead, but she develops an alternate personality that acts exactly like him. Even though it's in Jessica's head, for all intents and purposes it's still the traditional Harvey Dent version of Two-Face as the real villain.
    • Bruce's grandfather Adrian Wayne eventually turns out to be the Earth One version of Clayface.
  • Honor Before Reason: Bruce refuses to wear body armour, despite Alfred's constant insistence.
    Batman: Do you know what body armour says about a guy? It says that he needs body armour.
  • Hyper-Awareness:
    • The woman who sews up Bruce's wounds correctly guesses that he isn't Mayor Cobblepot's killer after inspecting his utility belt while he's out cold, noting that Penguin was shot and Bruce only carries Batarangs as weapons. That she's really Catwoman helps explain how she's so observant.
    • Jessica never actually meets Bruce in-costume, but nonetheless works out his alter ego based on a brief conversation where Bruce says he sees Batman as a symbol of hope. Given Batman's actions up to that point, she accurately deduces the only person who could possibly think that would be Batman himself.
  • Implacable Man: The Birthday Boy during his battle against Batman, Gordon, and Bullock. Nothing will keep him down, and his massive strength lets him overpower all three of them for most of the fight.
  • Insistent Terminology: "It's Mayor Cobblepot."
  • Irisless Eye Mask Of Mystery: Rare and notable aversion for Batman, as his irises and pupils are drawn clearly in the comic.
  • Jerkass: Even though he's still on the right side of the law and he's not corrupt, this is the Harvey Dent most prone to jackassery in a long time; he's an insufferable prick towards others such as Bruce Wayne or any underling that doesn't show any awe towards him.
  • Knife Nut: The Birthday Boy favours a carving knife.
  • Mayor Pain: Oswald Cobblepot is this all the way, running Gotham like a mob operation.
  • Morton's Fork: Riddler tells Batman that he has to solve a riddle. If he doesn't, he'll blow up a train full of people, if he solves it, they live. He was lying; even when Batman answers correctly, he blew up the train anyway because he never expected Batman to answer correctly.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Killer Croc helps take down the Riddler after he realizes he could have saved countless lives if he stopped him early on.
  • My Sibling Will Live Through Me: The effect of Harvey Dent's last words on Jessica, coupled with the trauma of his death. In volume 3 it eventually causes her to become Earth One's Two-Face.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Bruce and Jessica have feelings for each other. Jessica's brother Harvey is having none of it.
  • Mythology Gag: Several.
    • Mayor Cobblepot is mentioned to dress in trademark "penguin suits". He also maintains his habit of keeping birds in his office.
    • Alfred at one point says "tt". Mayor Cobblepot later delivers a "kk".
    • Much as in The Dark Knight Trilogy, Lucius Fox is a demoted researcher languishing in the lower levels of Wayne Industries.
      • Also, Bruce requests Batman's climbing gear in the form of an order for "spelunking equipment."
      • Gillian Loeb is a seemingly good cop, and Race Lifted to black.
    • When Bruce punches a young Harvey Dent in the face as a child, there's a close-up shot that makes half of his face look distorted and ugly from the punch's impact. In volume 2 a similar shot shades out the traditionally scarred part of his face after he threatens Gordon and Bullock.
    • The scene of Bullock confronting Axe and Gordon begging him off plays incredibly like the introductory Gordon/Flass scene in Batman: Year One, only with Gordon playing the idealistic good cop role there and cynical, corrupt veteran here.
    • Birthday Boy is said to have recently escaped from the Crane Institute indicating that the local nuthouse is actually run by Jonathan Crane, who in the source comics is the spooky supervillain the Scarecrow.
    • After being saved from Birthday Boy by the combined efforts of her father, Batman and Harvey Bullock, Barbara draws herself as Batgirl. Doubles as Foreshadowing, as the end of volume 3 sees her as part of the Outsiders as Batgirl.
  • New Meat: In contrast to the normal cynical veteran, Bullock here is a newcomer to the city and while well-meaning is very naive as to how things work, annoying and frustrating Gordon with his refusal to take his advice as to how to keep his head down. Like most examples of this trope, he eventually redeems himself after putting Barbara's life in danger, helping Gordon and Batman rescue her and take down the Birthday Boy.
  • Not Me This Time: Batman goes after Cobblepot under the assumption that his parents' murder was an assassination. While Cobblepot did arrange for one, their killer was ultimately a random criminal who was at the right place at the right time.
  • Not-So-Abandoned Building: The old Arkham Mansion isn't quite as abandoned as everyone thinks — it's actually being used as a lair by The Birthday Boy.
  • Old Soldier: Alfred is characterized as such, with his being a veteran a major part of who he is.
  • Parasol of Pain: Mayor Cobblepot uses a sword umbrella to surprise Batman during their final confrontation.
  • Pet the Dog: In the beginning, Batman accidentally scares a homeless woman, and seeing her situation, he gives her some money.
  • Police Are Useless: Played with; initially, most of the police are either corrupt or apathetic, serving only to get in Batman's way. However, the Gordon/Bullock team is quite professional and competent and even clue Batman in on things. For example, they are the ones to deduce that the Riddler must be nearby whenever he bombs a site; when Bruce Wayne overhears their conversation, he knows where to look when the Riddler strikes again. Things get better in later volumes, as Gordon steadily rises in the ranks.
  • Private Military Contractors: Alfred worked for one in Seoul.
  • Promotion to Parent: Alfred. He hadn't seen Thomas Wayne for years and just briefly reunited with him before Thomas's death - then Alfred found out that the Waynes had named him Bruce's legal guardian should anything happen to them.
  • Psycho for Hire: The Birthday Boy, a serial killer whom Mayor Cobblepot keeps on the payroll by supplying him with victims.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Martha Arkham's mother wasn't a psychiatrist herself, but she was a prominent crusader for mental health coming from a long line of them. Then she went insane and killed herself, and her family's mansion was subsequently abandoned, becoming Gotham's resident Haunted House in the process.
  • Punny Name: The Riddler uses a couple of vans of the Con & Drum Laundry in his plot.
  • Race Lift: Earth One's Dick Grayson is African-American here as opposed to the traditional Caucasian. Likewise the earlier stories' version of Loeb.
  • Running Gag: In separate volumes Gordon and Catwoman both point out the absurdity of Batman's contact phone actually having a bat on it.
  • Serial Killer: The Birthday Boy, who kidnaps and murders young girls, and leaves candles on their pillows. He usually bakes a cake for his victim as well, and demands that they "make a wish" before he knifes them.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Volume 1: Barbara Gordon is seen drawing a Batgirl costume. The Riddler is seen musing about Batman's Secret Identity.
    • Volume 2: The lady who stitched up Batman is Selina Kyle — and she didn't actually live in that apartment, she was ransacking it when Batman fell there. Also, Jessica Dent got half of her face burned and has developed a Split Personality.
    • Volume 3: Batman is forming the Outsiders with Robin, Batgirl, Ragman and Killer Croc (with Lucius Fox providing tech support) and vows to bring light to Gotham - as The Joker frees Toyman from prison transit to help him kill a lot of kids.
  • Shadow Archetype: The abandoned Arkham Mansion (owned by Bruce's mother's family in this version) is a dark reflection of Wayne Manor in more ways than one. They were both owned by two of the most powerful families in Gotham, but one is a resplendent beacon of wealth and status while the other is a decrepit wreck, showing how high one family has risen and how far the other has fallen.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The Dents. Jessica is kind, optimistic, good-natured and believes in Bruce. Harvey is a spiteful Jerkass who hates him. Carries over to the split personality of "Harvey" in Jessica's head.
  • Split Personality: Two-Face, naturally. But here it's Jessica, and the new violent personality is 'Harvey'. The following volume reveals she's Two-Face in all but name, with the Harvey personality almost starting a gang war to get at Bruce.
  • Spoiled Brat: Young Bruce. Then his parents die.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Subverted, during Vol 2. It appears Batman has pulled one of these to Gordon... but he's not quite gotten out of the room, and even bids him goodbye.
  • The Stinger: Each issue ends teasing a new member of Batman's Rogues Gallery.
    Volume 1: "Who is Batman? What a riddle."
    Volume 2: "Meow."
    Volume 3: "I'm nobody."
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Taking out a large group of enemies, even cops, is often portrayed as child's play for Batman. Here, the rooftop fight sequence shows virtually everything that could go wrong in such a scenario; he doesn't recon the roof in advance, is ambushed and nearly concussed by his prey's pals as a result, can barely see as a result of his head wound and flattens Gordon on instinct when he can't tell who it is, stops to pick up evidence before he's cleared the scene and gives the cops shooting him an easy target, is blasted off the roof when he gets too close and has to escape by crashing into the Penguin's party. It's a miracle he survived, as Alfred viciously points out afterwards.
    • The spin on Harvey Dent's tale in Volume 2: he gets hit in the face with a molotov cocktail by Sal Maroni, and though he does receive his trademark Two-Faced appearance, he quickly dies of the burn wounds due to their severity.
  • Terror Hero: This is Bruce's objective, though his presentation still needs some work.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: After watching his parents murdered, a panel chillingly shows Bruce Wayne in the rain and sporting an Heroic BSoD
  • Took A Level In Cynicism and Took a Level in Idealism: Interestingly, in this universe Bruce and Alfred appear to have swapped places on this particular sliding scale. In the regular continuity, Bruce is frequently depicted as a dark, brooding cynic constantly at risk of looking too deeply into the abyss thanks to his crusade, and Alfred is the advisor who has to use his counsel to ensure that Bruce both remembers why he is doing what he does in the first place and that he doesn't cross the line. In this continuity, Alfred is the cynical one who is constantly advising Bruce to just fully embrace the Vigilante Man approach, warts and all, and it's Bruce who idealistically believes that there's a better way he can take.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Bruce badly underestimates Penguin when he eventually confronts him, unable to take Cobblepot warning him to back off with an umbrella seriously. Of course, the reader knows exactly what Penguin + umbrella equals. Sure enough, Bruce is stabbed and bleeding out in very short order.
  • Undressing the Unconscious:
    • After barely escaping the police and getting badly wounded, Batman passes out on the sidewalk and is picked up by Alfred. When he next comes to, he's in his bed, shirtless and with his wounds treated.
    • After Riddler throws Batman off a window, he falls on a balcony downstairs and loses consciousness, shortly before he's found by a woman. When Batman next wakes up, he finds himself Shirtless in the apartment's bedroom, with his wounds having been dressed by said woman who's standing next to him, and he's noticeably still wearing his mask, which she did not remove. Later in the issue it's revealed that woman didn't actually live there, and is actually Selina Kyle, who just happened to be robbing the apartment when he fell in there, and she decided to help him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In the final parts of Volume 2, Riddler undergoes a rather quick one, going from calm and confident as he kills people with his various tactics to screaming at Batman and trying to shoot him as soon as he finally catches up with him.
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: Even for a character that's part of the page image, this version of the Joker has an incredibly pronounced one.
  • Wretched Hive: Gotham City is even more miserable than ever, and under the control of The Penguin to boot.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Birthday Boy, who kidnaps young girls, is implied to cut their throats and then keep their corpses rotting in Arkham Manor's basement. The horror of it is really shown when he kidnaps Barbara on Cobblepot's orders, leading Gordon to freak out in terror when he realizes what's happened. Later, Bullock falls into the basement where the bodies are buried. It's not shown on-panel, but seeing what's happened is enough to reduce him from the well-meaning crime-fighter he's been up to that point to The Alcoholic with severe PTSD.
  • You Are Not Alone: Alfred says this to Bruce at the end of the first volume.
  • You Killed My Father: Bruce's motivation in this version. He becomes Batman so he can bring down Mayor Cobblepot, who had his parents murdered so that Thomas Wayne couldn't get elected Mayor. The twist is that he actually didn't; he was certainly planning to, but Bruce's bolting to find another theater to watch Zorro took them away from Cobblepot's gunmen and into the path of the random mugger that killed them.
  • Younger and Hipper: As opposed to other versions, where he's older than Bruce, this Lucius Fox is younger than him.