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Superman: Earth One Vol. 2 Hardcover – November 6, 2012

146 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Superman: Earth One Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Q&A with J. Michael Straczynski

Q. Were you surprised by the tremendous success of SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE Vol. 1?

A. J. Michael Straczynski: Yes and no. Any time one writes a book of any sort, one hopes for success with it. I knew that the story was as solid as I could make it, the art was great, and our lead character is one of the most recognizable figures in the world, so all of the elements were there. The question then becomes the degree to which it resonates with an audience: do they care about the story and the characters?

So while I suspected the book would do well, given the elements above, I never expected that it would spend 37 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list for graphic novels. What's especially interesting about that is that in the weeks and months since it came out, I heard from a massive number of readers who said that they'd never picked up a Superman comic before, that the character hadn't really interested them previously, but that they bought, and enjoyed, this one. I think we managed to reach a considerable number of folks who had never been able to dial into the character before.

We'd taken a rather risky path with the character of Clark Kent in the book, so to receive both a very strong response in both critical reception and sales was a huge validation that we'd made the right choice.

Q. Many creators have re-imagined Superman's origin story throughout the years. What frame of mind did you put yourself in to create a new, unique vision that stands by itself?

A. J. Michael Straczynski: The answer to that dovetails rather neatly into the comments above, but requires a bit of a long story. For two years I'd worked in Vancouver as writer/producer on a Showtime TV series called Jeremiah. Every week, I'd go down to the comics store on Granville near Robson for my comics fix. Now, if you know that area, then you know that Granville is a haven for street kids: the lost and the transitional, the runaways and the throwaways. I would often see them walk into the comics store in search of something, anything that resonated with them, and the world in which they had to live. They would scan the multicolored racks with desperate eyes, looking for something uplifting that would speak to them...and return to the streets empty handed.

For Superman to remain relevant, the character must grow and change and evolve, must be re-invented for each new generation. So that's what I decided to do with Superman: bring him to Metropolis in his early 20s today, right now, and give him the same task that awaits so many others at that age: let him define himself, figure out what he wants to do with his life and show the difficulties, but also the joys, of making that happen.

Q. What is the core tenet behind the SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE mythology you and artist Shane Davis have created?

A. J. Michael Straczynski: To show the human side of Clark and make him relatable. The key thing about Superman is that while you cannot pierce his skin, you can pierce his heart. His journey has to be one filled with action but it must also be a very personal journey of discovery. We must all discover who we are, and what we stand for when standing is the most difficult. Clark Kent is no different in that respect, and that key gave us our central approach to the character.

Q. Parasite is the starring villain in Vol. 2. What aspects of the character have you focused on?

A. J. Michael Straczynski: The Parasite is in a way the mirror image of Superman, in that Superman gives of himself to help others, and the Parasite takes from others to strengthen himself. So that gave us our focus from a thematic perspective. Before the accident that transforms him, he is a serial killer who exploits people until he no longer needs them, then murders them and moves on. Cold, calculating, conscienceless and very much in control. As Parasite, when the hunger for power hits him, he is very much out of control, and that dichotomy gave us some really cool dynamics to play with.

Q. Your version of Clark Kent isn't the instantly heroic Boy Scout archetype we all know. Will we see further change in Clark in Vol. 2?

A. J. Michael Straczynski: For me, the fun in writing Clark is that he's not so much a boy scout as he is, in his way, kind of naive when he comes to Metropolis for the first time. He's led a life in which he was always afraid that he might accidentally hurt someone, or that his powers might be discovered, so he withdrew into himself, leading a life where he touched as few people as possible, and was touched by few of them in return. Because he was an outsider, in a very literal sense, there was always a barrier between him and other people, between him and fun. But now that he's out in the world, on his own for the first time, he has to relate to other people more intimately than he has in the past, and there's a certain amount of fun involved in that, some of it at his expense. He has to figure out how to rent an apartment on his own, and how to deal with the beautiful young woman next door who thinks he's really cute. He's protective, and strong, but also very shy in his ways, and that ends up being very attractive.

Q. Are there any other supporting characters from the Superman mythos we'll see in Vol. 2?

A. J. Michael Straczynski: In addition to Parasite, there's an appearance by one character known well to fans of Superman, but whom I've been deliberately holding back until I could bring him in via a new path, reinventing him in ways that parallel what we're doing with Clark. I think this will be a pleasant surprise for readers, especially given the character he arrives alongside. I don't think anybody will see this one coming.

From Booklist

How do you distinguish a Superman reinvention in a field filled with such reinventions, including DC’s monthly Superman comic books? In this sequel to the popular first volume, Straczynski creates several original supporting characters and probes the temptations that face an invulnerable hero to put a relatively fresh spin on a young Superman’s battle with the power-draining Parasite and the hero’s growing understanding of what it means to be human. Straczynski’s television and film background affords a cinematic structure and pacing, and Davis’ sleek figures and epic battle scenes will feel comfortably familiar to moviegoers and comics fans alike. --Jesse Karp

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Product Details

  • Series: Superman: Earth One
  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; 1ST edition (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401231969
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401231965
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.4 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J. Michael Staczynski was born in Paterson, NJ in 1954, from a lower-middle-class blue-collar family that moved 21 times in his first 18 years. He began writing in earnest and selling at the age of 17 and hasn't stopped since. He graduated San Diego State University with degrees in Psychology and Sociology.

As a journalist, he has written over 500 published articles for such periodicals as The Los Anglees Times, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Penthouse, Writer's Digest, San Diego Magazine, the San Diego and Los Angeles Reader and TIME, Inc. He has also published numerous short stories in Amazing Science Fiction Magazine, Pulphouse, and various anthologies.

As a television writer and producer, he has written over 200 produced episodes, including workj on The New Twilight Zone, Nightmare Classics and Murder She Wrote. He also wrote, created and produced the series Babylon 5, Crusade and Jeremiah.

Moving from TV to film, he wrote Changeling (directed by Clint Eastwood), Ninja Assassin (produced by the Wachowskis), provided the story for Thor (directed by Kenneth Branagh), wrote Underworld 4 (starring Kate Beckinsale), and has written numerous other films that are currently slated for production.

He has won the Hugo Award (twice), the Saturn Award, the Eisner Award, the Inkpot Lifetime Achievement Award, the E Pluribus Unum Award from the American Cinema Foundation, the Space Frontier Foundation award, the Ray Bradbury Award, the Christopher Award, and over a dozen others.

He was also nominated for a British Academy Award (BAFTA) for his screenplay for Changeling.

He writes ten hours a day, every day, except for his birthday, New Year's Day and Christmas Day.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Anarchy in the US on November 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
DC's Earth One books were designed to be the companies' attempt at making stories in graphic novels for their respected characters, as opposed to making individual comics. These stories exist outside of the main continuity as to let writers have more leeway in writing about aspects that haven't been written about before, without interfering with overlapping details. And it all started with 2010's Superman: Earth One. Writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Shane Davis made a cinematic reimaging of Clark Kent becoming Superman, that became a huge seller overnight. DC made JMS drop all of his projects at the time of release to get to work on a volume 2. After 2 years, does it proceed or trump Vol.1? I think so.

SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE VOL.2 picks up right after the end of Vol.1, where we see Clark settling into his new persona of glasses and keeping to himself. He finally gets his own apartment with some new neighbors, including a flirtatious woman named Lisa Lasalle. Lois Lane, questioning how a young nobody like Clark Kent could get Superman's story, starts an investigation into Clark's background. And Raymond Maxwell Jensen, homicidal killer, accidently becomes the Parasite, a metahuman who can suck living beings powers and essence. How will Superman fight a creature who can steal his powers away? You'll have to find out.

After reading both Earth One books of Superman Vol.1 and Batman, I've come to the conclusion the EO books are more about humanizing our protagonist and changing some aspects of the mythos, while stretching some of the taboos of the character.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By JFL on November 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first volume of this book re-imagined the creation of Superman in an updated world and gave readers a look into the "why" he chose to don the symbolic "S" on his chest. The second volume depicts Superman's battle with himself, the world, and Parasite, a serial-killing super-powered human that gains strength as he steals energy from humans, electrics, cars, and even Superman himself.

Stracynzski has taken the Perry White character and developed him into a mentor for Clark Kent the journalist, instead of just the tough boss. He has also added another love interest, Lisa Lasalle, Clark's redheaded next-door neighbor. While Clark has another love interest Lois Lane is not forgotten as she investigates a story only she notices. Jimmy Olsen is a Crazy do-anything-for-the-picture photographer.

Shane Davis and Sandra Hope have done an amazing job in this phenomenally drawn comic. The book is edgy,colorful, and both Parasite and Superman look tremendous. The battle scenes in Earth One Volume 2 may seem short-lived and quick, but their point is made and drawn beautifully.

Clark is challenged on a number of different levels as he determines what he will and will not do with his both powers. Parasite that brings him down to Earth in miserable fashion, two of his neighbors suffering from their own societal ills, and a brutal dictator of a war-torn country brings into question the political significance of Superman. the main focus of the book is to explore Clark Kent's mind. Drawn in by Clark's human feelings readers are offered a look into his past and what went into his becoming Superman.

I highly recommend this Story to anyone who enjoyed "creation of" or "evolution of" a hero story lines in the past, this one is with the best.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mike L. on November 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the 2nd volume in the superman line of Dcs earth one books, but you probably already knew that. Now as for the book itself its even better than the 1st. We get to see how the arrival of superman impacts the world at large and clark kents personal life. We get to see an awesome new love interest for clark as well as a kick ass version of the parasite. The art in this book is even better than it was in volume one, the action looks awesome and the quieter character scenes are drawn to perfection. One of the best superman stories of 2011-2012. Overall 5/5
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. Pring on March 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
J. Michael Stracyzynski (JMS) in accordance to things he has written in the past, is one of the biggest Superman fans ever, and now he gets to shape his dream. The writing is brilliant, the illustrations are phenomenal, and the carefully constructed story brings this rendition of Superman into full view. Take place after the events of the last book (as any good comic does) this adventure...whoa, wait, what?
You're kidding me? Right? You didn't read the first one? Dare lord! Ok, I guest I won't spoil anything about the previous story, but you should be ashamed of yourself for not having picked up the first book! That's all I have to say about that. Ok, so the first book introduces Superman, now he's out there, what's he gonna do now? Great question. Read the book, find out. You'll like it.
Thanks for reading and have a nice day!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Frank P on January 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow, what a thoughtful, well-written and well-conceived Superman story. I wasn’t as enamored with Volume One. But this follow-up is thoroughly more satisfying.

DC Comics’ “Earth One” graphic novel series re-tells the origins of their superheroes as if they were conceived by writers today, as opposed to some 75 years ago, and if characters lived in today's world. Great liberties are allowed to be taken, with writers and artists picking and choosing what elements from what’s been written before to keep, what to be inspired by and what to completely revise. The hope is that the tone and material will be more accessible, relatable and appealing to new readers wanting something less fanciful or, essentially, less comic book-y, yet still present the same spirit of what made each hero so popular and lasting to begin with.

Three books have been published in the series so far, one for Batman (with a broad-shouldered, combat-hardened Alfred who walks with a cane as the reluctant assistant and mentor to Bruce) and now two for Superman, whose lead shares much more in spirit to the alien orphan played by Henry Cavill than the all-American charmer fighting for truth and justice presented by Christopher Reeve or George Reeves. Until now my favorite was Batman Earth One, but this second Superman book is also a surprise winner.

A direct sequel to Volume One, Volume Two explores some very common sense ideas about a super-powered boy concealing his abilities his entire childhood and how it affects the way he thinks as he grows into a young man now burdening himself with the responsibility to help those in need while still maintaining an alternate identity among mankind.
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