Superman: Earth One by J Michael Straczynski & Shane Davis


Title: Superman: Earth One

Author: J. Michael Straczynski

Illustrator: Shane Davis & Sandra Hope

Publisher: DC Comics

ISBN: 978-1401224684


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, joins forces with rising star artist Shane Davis (SUPERMAN/BATMAN: THE SEARCH FOR KRYPTONITE) to create this original graphic novel that gives new insight into Clark Kent’s transformation into Superman and his first year as The Man of Steel. This is the first in a new wave of original DC Universe graphic novels, featuring top writers’ and illustrators’ unique takes on DC characters.

I enjoyed this graphic novel quite a bit!  It’s been a while since I have read a super hero comic, and picking this up was a nice change of pace to my usual graphic novel fare.  This book caught my eye because of one name on the cover: J Michael Straczynski.  Yup, I’ll admit that I am still hung up on Babylon 5, and that everything this guy touches is like gold to me.  I can relate to his characters so easily, and I love how they are plagued by doubt and indecision just as I am.  I liked this more hesitant and confused Superman.

Let me make another confession – I am more of a Marvel girl than a DC kind of chick.  There is something about both Gambit and Wolverine that has held me enthralled with those characters for years.  The DC heroes?  I just don’t connect with them so well.  Sure, Wonder Woman is kind of cool, and I wish I had an invisible airplane, and I have always admired Batman because he was able to do so much without any superpowers.  Now Superman, I always thought he was a bit boring, because he does have all of these superpowers, and he has so many more advantages that other crime fighters lack.

Superman: Earth One gives Clark Kent lots of self-doubt.  He is kind of drifting along at the beginning of the story, not quite sure what to do with his life.  Heck, this guy can do anything he wants to, so it’s kind of a no-brainer that he would be confused about how to spend the rest of his life.  He wants, more than anything, to give his mom financial security so she doesn’t have to worry about anything else ever again.  That’s very admirable. Except that she doesn’t want him to do what makes her happy.  She wants him to do what makes him happy.  That’s a question that everyone struggles with, and it make him so much more human.

Things soon get very complicated for Clark, when an invading alien horde swoops down on Earth like a ton of  bricks.  Then there isn’t much of a question about what he’s going to do, because if he stands by and does nothing, there won’t be a planet left for him to do anything on. 

The pacing is fantastic, and I was hooked right from the start.  Events build up, and Clark is quickly fighting for his life, and the lives of everyone else on the planet.  He discovers who he is, and he finally discovers what it is he’s meant to do.  In the face of so much adversity, he learns not only who he is, but also what he’s made of.  I loved that!

The art is deft and the action is easy to follow.  Clark doesn’t get to smile much, and I liked the  brooding young man depicted in this book.  He takes everything so seriously!  Just look at the cover! I love that illustration!  It makes Clark look darker, more menacing, but also determined and powerful at the same time.  It’s what made me want to read this book.  

Grade: A-

Review copy provided by publisher

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