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Superman: Earth One Hardcover – November 2, 2010
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Looking to Marvel’s Ultimate line, DC launches its Earth One series with a modernization of the world’s first superhero. With 72 years of various “imaginary stories” behind him, if you’re going to reimagine Superman again, you’d better distinguish yourself. It’s all quite recognizable: Lois, Jimmy, and the Daily Planet are all here, though the menace of Lex Luthor is replaced by an alien armada hunting the last son of Krypton. Torchbearer of the Todd McFarlane–Jim Lee aesthetic of modern comics art, Davis provides sleek figures, intense detail, and subtle integration of current hairstyles and fashions (including a nip and tuck to the old supersuit itself) that do the lion’s share of the contemporizing. Ultimately, though, it’s Straczynski who distinguishes the work, humanizing the dynamic between characters and adding a compelling twist of melancholy to young Clark Kent’s search for purpose. This is not a revelatory reexamination of a great American icon but the script and storyboards for a great Superman summer blockbuster, and one with a lot of heart, at that. Grades 9-12. --Jesse Karp
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I think the writer & director of the 2013 Man of Steel movie may have used this collection as a character study, as both pieces deal with the isolation that Clark feels.
This is a 21st century Superman, who deals with 3rd world despots a bit differently than 1950's Superman did.
The art is great and the story moves seamlessly. I bought the trade and then let it sit on my shelf for about six months, but when I finally picked it up, I wolfed it down and kicked myself for not reading it sooner. This is the best Superman story in a couple of years.
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.
It also includes the best quote ever to come from Pa Kent to his teenage son: “All I’m saying, son, is – man of steel – woman of tissue paper.”
That tells you one topic that’s covered! There are a few PG-13 topics in this story, which chooses to skew the story more into a character study about Clark than an action-adventure tale about a caped hero. This story spends more time showing a Clark Kent awkwardly pursuing a hidden, normal life behind his horn-rimmed glasses than the destructive nature of his alter ego which is a big question mark to the world at large, particularly how concerned should they be about this person that governments cannot control. There’s also a really sweet flashback to Clark’s first pet, a cat named Fuzzball.
Lois Lane is here, as are Perry and Jimmy. But she’s not the one in a relationship with Clark shown in decades of Superman stories. Instead, a sexy red-haired neighbor goes after our naïve lead character and what develops is both funny and meaningful. Instead, Lois can’t get over Kent scooping the entire world by getting The First Interview with Superman. So being a naturally competitive reporter, she’s out to find dirt on this new guy from Smallville. It’s a plausible, adversarial reaction for someone like a Lois. And the villain, the Parasite, is introduced in a well-developed, fairly grounded storyline whose addictive search for physical strength also feeds organically to the subplot about the world’s and its government’s fears about Superman and how they wish they could control him.
So it’s less about titans fighting each other, skyscrapers demolished in their wake (which does happen here). Instead, it takes its time crafting real characters in plausible situations, especially Clark’s. And it slowly drew me in so by the end, I was genuinely surprised and satisfied by the conclusions reached in the handful of subplots told. I'm not a Superman fan either, I'm a Batman fan. But I really enjoyed this book.
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P.S This copy is in poor condition