As I was stumbling around youtube watching old fan films I stumbled upon something new, Grayson: Earth One.
Grayson: Earth One is a (fan) web sires that was launched on June 1st. It is campaigning on Indiegogo to raise $40,000 for a 6 episode season. And the rewards for contributing to the film aren’t bad (like being able to pitch an idea to possibly be added for example!). For those of you not familiar with the DC Comics publication line Earth One, they are basically Elseworld tales with slight re-imaginings of characters origins. The official Earth One books published so far are Batman: Earth One, Superman: Earth One and a Wonder Woman: Earth One in the works.
Grayson: Earth One takes the characters we know and places them in a slightly altered universe where Dick Grayson wasn’t adopted by Bruce Wayne and didn’t become Robin the Boy Wonder in his youth. So far so good, but I do love a good Elseworld story.
Let’s start with the things I liked. The first episode visually is wonderful. Earth One clearly has a vision and tone and it is present through the entire episode. The tone is dark and dangerous but with glimmers of hope that lay within the cast of characters, setting up and illustrating the Gotham/Bludhaven we’re going to be exploring rather well. Dick Grayson appears to be a lead singer/guitarist from the wrong side of the tracks who wears a smeared makeup black mask during his performances. To me this is an obvious nod to Eric Draven aka The Crow. Which, I personally love and think is a nice touch. I also couldn’t help but admire Dick’s heavily, black lacquered nails that sheen when occasionally brought in frame and go quite well with his tendrils of slick jet black hair. The acting of Grayson and other Gothamites is rather superb for a fan series. I didn’t find myself mocking any of the performances or them bringing me out of the story, expect in the case of Helena [Bertinelli] but she had little screen time and little to no introduction. This could vastly improve with some light shed on her character…
Some things that didn’t work for me- not even 40 seconds in Barbara Gordon is attacked and kidnapped by what appears to be a Black Mask Gang, and she doesn’t even defend herself! She just screams and the scene cuts to her poor little beanie left in the alley. Babs is still the daughter of [former] Gotham Commissioner, and this is an origin story, I don’t expect her to be Batgirl. I don’t expect her to pull out a batarang or bat-hair clip and pound them into the pavement. These cities in almost every incarnation are dangerous, WHY does the Comissoner’s daughter not know how to defend herself or cary any taser/pepper spray!? [MY Barbara Gordon does not just scream and get kidnapped!]
The next thing that bothers me (AND THIS IS AN ASSUMPTION BASED UPON WHAT I HAVE SEEN, NOT FACT) that the female characters are rather heavily dependent on the male characters, lacking their more fierce/independent natures and are looking to be set up for a love triangle [Babs/Dick/Helena]. Even Carrie Kelly (which I always love seeing) couldn’t get to the night club with out male escort, threatened with rape and additional male saving by Dick. Where are my powerful women at?! Barbara does have a slight redeeming moment at the end ***possible spoilers: when she breaks out of her handcuffs and assists the rescue of other kidnaped women, but Dick still takes on at least 6 armed men while she does this. (Also, there is some bizarre logic here that Dick knew EXACTLY where to go to save Babs but the OTHER MISSING WOMEN as well. And only came to this [obviously, previously known] location when it bothered him that BARBARA had been taken, so lets just forget about these other 12 women, but if BABS IS TAKEN, THAT’S JUST TOO FAR! wtf?)*** This is the first episode and there is plenty of chances for my female characters to be a bit less damsel and a hunking more bad ass. However it is a possible worry for future installments.
Overall, Grayson: Year One is interesting, well filmed and acted. I am certainly looking forward to more and am holding out hope for my favored characters. If you’d like to check out more information on the series or to donate check out these links:
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