The consistent revamping of traditional heroes in both the D.C. Comics and Marvel Comics universe can be baffling. The logic at work is new readers are consistently coming on board so old story lines have to be scrapped and new updates on character origins are performed. This has been done time and time again starting with D.C.’s Crisis on Infinite Earths maxi-series in 1985. Recently, new versions of Batman and Superman’s origins have been retold in the “Earth One” graphic novels. After a very long delay, the second volume of Batman Earth One has finally been released.
Writer Geoff Johns has taken some time out to discuss the changes he has made in the Batman mythology in the second entry. Essentially, the characters of The Riddler, Two-Face, and Killer Croc have been tweaked in the new entry. The Riddler becomes much more evil while Killer Croc becomes less vicious and more sympathetic. Two-Face undergoes a massive, almost unforgivable change. NJ Spotlight said that why Johns chose to make such a massive change to such an iconic villain is mysterious. Perhaps the idea at work here was, unless some massive change was made, readers would not look at Batman Earth One as being anything different than what came before. Fair enough, but at what point does change become a detriment to a character and a book?
Basically, when the change hurts sales or totally turns off readers. This has not happened with Earth One, so don’t look for much of a backlash.