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

4.3 out of 5 stars 460 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Superman: Earth One Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (460 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Superman: Earth One presents Superman the way you've always known him--and yet radically different. His story is entirely familiar: Rocketed from the doomed planet Krypton while still an infant, he lands on earth, to be found and raised by the kindly Jonathan and Martha Kent, who instill in their adopted son the best values and sensibilities the world has to offer. But Earth One (part of a larger series from DC focusing on iconic characters in more "real-world-like" settings) has a gravitas and a sense of place that anchors it more solidly in the world we know than practically any Superman comic in ages. Even better, it's a "mature" comic that kids, teens, and adults can all read and enjoy.

Writer J. Michael Straczynski is a comics veteran, so it's no surprise that he crafts a story that draws you in immediately, even as it covers the most familiar aspects of Superman's life. Straczynski is also a regular TV and movie scribe, so he naturally imbues his story with a cinematic pace and scope. It works amazingly well. Even a long-winded voiceover from the late Jonathan Kent, a plot device that could have gone horribly wrong, or at least been unforgivably cheesy, succeeds and inspires the reader just as it inspires Clark Kent to live up to his full potential.

Artist Shane Davis does a remarkable job not only with Metropolis but also with the legendary core cast. His Clark Kent and his Superman are young and vibrant (both recognizable but still different enough that you almost believe a pair of glasses and a nerd act are enough of a disguise for the most famous man in the world), and his Lois Lane is beautiful and lifelike. Jimmy Olsen and Perry White shine under Davis's pencils as well.

One thing the story does not have is Lex Luthor, and thankfully so.
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Format: Hardcover
This graphic novel is everything I had hoped for, and much more. I've been a fan of Superman for 10 years, but I've never been able to completely relate to Clark Kent / Superman; it always seemed like he was too perfect, too removed, too different. Well, Superman: Earth One has changed all that for me. This is a story about a young guy trying to find his way in his world, wrestling with temptations and fears, and striving to do the right thing by the people who have adopted him as one of their own. There are many moments in this novel that touched me, but two stand out: Clark "visiting" Pa Kent, and the truth behind Krypton's apocalypse.

J. Michael Straczynski's writing is full of conviction, hope and realism. Superman's world is our world, and his trials and triumphs are ours, too. Shane Davis' art is gorgeous throughout, depicting Metropolis and its citizens with a cinematic flair not too often associated with comic books. I won't spoil the story, but trust me when I say you won't be able to put it down until you reach the last page.

Do yourself a favor and read this book. And if you know a kid or a teenager lend them your copy or give them one. We all need better heroes nowadays, and Superman is the greatest of them all.

I can't wait for the sequel!!!!!
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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent story with fluid movement and a smart plot. Does not talk down to the reader or expect us to know Supes history ~ as a 51 year - old reader of the Kryptonian Mythos I thoroughly enjoyed this new twist on an old story.
I expect great things in this line of Earth One stories and especially enjoyed the Jimmy Olsen angle presented.
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