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Superman: Earth One Paperback – May 7, 2013
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“This is a Superman for the 21st century. With SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE, Straczynski and Davis inject the folk tale and legend that is Superman’s origin with a modern, vital and forward-looking energy that makes for a refreshing, epic and challenging super-hero adventure. . . . SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE channels the best tales of Superman with a look toward the future, by two of the brightest talents the industry has to offer.”—/Film
“Excellent.... From its poignant domestic moments, delivered in mostly warm, fuzzy flashbacks, to its blockbuster battles, Straczynski’s Superman: Earth One renders like a feature film just waiting for adaptation. “—Wired
“Artist Shane Davis rightly gives the book a photorealistic look to drive home that this is more science fiction than superhero romp. . . This is a handsome, rock-solid Superman fable that gets to the scifi pith of his legend.”—Io9
“What do you get when you combine Twilight and a classic superhero? The new Superman.”—The Hollywood Reporter
“The new Superman doesn’t sparkle, but he does brood and smolder. Artist Shane Davis has created a moody 20 year-old version of the iconic hero who rocks a hipster look.”—New York Press
“Shane Davis really shines in this book. . . . The art comes alive with energy and design”—Ifanboy
“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 … [and] Straczynski . . . distinguishes the work, humanizing the dynamic between characters and adding a compelling twist of melancholy to young Clark Kent’s search for purpose.”—Booklist
“Straczynski, a master of building characters, brings depth and emotion to the Man of Steel and Davis’ artwork is a joy to behold.”—AM New York
About the Author
J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI has worked in television, comics and, most recently, motion pictures. In comics, he is known for The Amazing Spider-Man, The Twelve, Thor and Silver Surfer: Requiem, as well as SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE Volumes 1 & 2 and BEFORE WATCHMEN for DC Comics. He is the creator of the hit TV series Babylon 5, and was nominated for the 2009 Best Writer Eisner Award. In movies, he is known for writing films including Changeling, Thor and a forthcoming reinterpretation of Forbidden Planet.
Shane Davis is a graduate of the prestigious Joe Kubert school and current exclusive artist for DC Comics. Although he is relatively new to the industry, he is a fast-rising star that has made a name for himself with his breathtaking artwork on titles including GREEN LANTERN: RAGE OF THE RED LANTERNS, MYSTERY IN SPACE and SUPERMAN / BATMAN: THE SEARCH FOR KRYPTONITE.
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Throughout the story we find out about his origin, and the choices he makes that lead him to become Superman. The more iconic moments and characters are slightly adjusted to fit a modern sensibility but are still true to the characters you have in your head. This being a reboot might scare some away from experiencing yet another origin story but again Stracynski does a terrific job of not letting anything become stale. In fact the basic origin of a lost planet creating our hero goes on to become a great mystery that reaches a conclusion in the 3rd volume.
At this point it is obvious how much I loved this story but one of the things I think gets lost is how influential it became as well. The success of this volume went on to assure DC to make more 'earth one' series; and i personally believe the producers used this book as their inspiration for the better scenes in 'Man of Steel'. The mass warning of doom, Clark going from job to job, and the personal loss he experiences. All of which are much better here than in the movie. So as I started off with before this is the BEST Superman story I have seen, do yourself a favor and pick it up.
I'm happy to say that writer J. Michael Straczynski--whom some of you might know as the creator of the science fiction series Babylon 5--has managed to leap that bar in a single bound. I found Superman Earth One by turns exciting, intriguing and touching. Straczynski offers a Superman origin story that not only gives the familiar origins of Kal-El, but also provides the origins of Superman by telling us WHY Clark Kent chose, out of all his possible futures, to become Superman in the first place.
If I have two criticisms of the Superman Earth One, they revolve around the artwork by Shane Davis. While I generally like his style, I don't care for the way he's drawn Clark's face--it's too oval and angular. Superman should have more of a square-jawed look. I also found in just a few places trouble following the action because Davis had a tendency to draw from either a too-distant or a too-close perspective. More scenes from a middle perspective would have made some of the action easier to follow. Other than the two small criticisms, however, I liked the artwork.
The action, the adventure, and the touching moments with both Jonathan and Martha, and with Jor-El and Lara, would have made Superman Earth One worth twice the price. The story contained, however, a special gift for long-time Superman fans: the return of the smart Superman. Long before anti-Superman Batman fanboys got ahold of Superman in the 1980s and wrote him as stupid to make Batman seem smarter (not that Batman ever needed it either), Superman used to be smart. Even if you've never read the Silver Age comics, if you've seen "Superman: The Movie," where Superman speaks multiple languages and gives a succinct, scientific explanation of what causes earthquakes, you know what I mean. Superman should be smart--after all, he's the son of Krypton's greatest scientist. As a fan of Superman for the last half-century, I thank Straczynski for the gift of Superman's returned intellect.
Straczynski managed to give us the rare gift too of a flashback within a flashback, deftly done. Not many writers could have pulled it off.
Straczynski gives us two more small parting gifts: the exclusive interview that Superman gave Clark Kent, and Lois Lane's first article on Superman. While Straczynski made the two small parting gifts small, he made them gems, and nice, polished diamonds at that.
Straczynski leaves us (or at least me) wanting to find out what Superman does next, and I'm happy to see that DC will release a sequel in time for my birthday this November--indeed I have it on my Amazon.com Wish List already. :-D
Top international reviews
Whilst the reviews are helpful, this is really a book for the younger generation and more of stepping stone into the the larger DC universe.
If you like books such as Grant Morrison's All Star Superman, this book probably isn't for you. If you like an angst filled, teenaged Superman then look no further.
This might be of interest to some who fancy a different take on the superman origins story but this just wasnt for me
Everyone has a list of personal expectations that would, to them, make a title a hit, and often also a list of things that should be avoided to prevent from corrupting or diluting their own notion of a character or particular story arc.
As someone who really appreciates a well written story that reveals little insights in to characters without spelling it all out for you, leaving no space for personal interpretation, I found the story of Superman Earth One ideal. To me it stands somewhere between the slightly sugar coated reality of Smallville and the harsh version of reality of the recent Batman movies.
Graphically it had everything I appreciate in comic art with enough of a feeling of detail and depth without over cooking it, allowing the story to flow without distraction while containing clever nuances that keep you interested in the art and not just reading the text frame after frame.
I hope you enjoy the book
you turn the last page, unputdownable is the right word to describe this refreshed blast from the past. highly recommended.