I reviewed Batman: Earth One Volume Two. I did not like the first volume, like, at all, but found this one to be a great improvement. It was one of those books where I plan on reading a portion of it before turning in for the night, and then end up reading the whole damn thing because I find the plot engaging enough that I can't put it down.
It's basically Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's version of "Batman: Year One," only with a higher page count (between the first two volumes, they've gotta be closing in on 400 pages by now), and in this one much of Batman's energy is focused on fighting this new villain called The Riddler (So, perhaps unfortunately for Johns and Frank, their new book is practically begging to be compared to Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and company's "Zero Year" arc).
I got really excited when The Riddler first-appeared, in this panel:
Nicely put, Batman, and I couldn't agree more. I hate, hate, hate the over-armored look of Batman that seems so predominate these days, from the suits Christian Bale wore in the last cycle of Batman films, to that of the Batman in the various Arkham video games, to The New 52 costume. Frank's design actually looks a little more armored than my ideal Batman costume–what with all the seams and what I guess are actually pads, rather than plates–but I do like the sentiment that Batman doesn't need armor, because he's so good he's not going to be shot and stabbed constantly. I'm cool with some thing armor covering his torso under his shirt to block unexpected gunfire, and maybe a reinforced cowl, but I don't like the idea of a bullet proof Batman–Bale's Batman wearing what looks like 80 pounds of armor and still having his ninja-like ability to appear and disappear just snapped my suspension of disbelief. For superhero costume design, simpler is always better, if you ask me.
The last panel on this page was my favorite bit though: