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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Comic Book Review: Superman: Earth One

Superman: Earth One
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Shane Davis
Pages: 127
Release Date: October 2010
Publisher: DC Comics

A modern Superman for a modern audience. A 70-year old hero making his presence felt in a new world of Bieber acts and Twilight fangirls.

The first project in DC's line of "Earth One" novels, this re-imagining of the Superman mythology took me by surprise - and with plenty of good reasons behind it.


21-year old Clark Kent goes out and steps into the real world for the first time. He isn't Superman yet, and not quite Superboy. A big question lingers in his mind: Why the hell should he become a superhero when he can become anybody that he wants to? Like being a successful star athlete. A business man maybe? Or even a scientist, and be able to generate tons of money that will support him for a life time.
 But when otherworldly forces threaten to destroy his adoptive home world (Earth), Clark must make the biggest decision in his life and choose: to ignore the impending death of billions of people and the planet that adopted him, or embrace his inner strength and become 
the hero that he was destined to be. 

I felt that the idea was absurd at first and that it might not work, but man I was wrong. This is  exactly how Superman would be if he ever debuted in the 21st century. Targeting old  fans and a new audience, I would say  J. Michael Straczynski (writer) and Shane Davis (artist) did a hell of job bringing a new flavor to the mythos and origin of the Man of Steel. They just kept me flipping the pages up to the last.

Elements of the character are still the same, with the only difference this one being more brooding, dark and angry. Clark Kent in here is a 21 year old guy who steps for the first time in the real world and he doesn't know what to do with his life - what kind of job would he take and what is the best for him. And I was able to relate to it  because this is what every young adult feels/felt in this stage of his/her life: undecided, fickle-minded, selfish, and just can't quite figure out what it is that he/she wants. It was the perfect emotional illustration.

 Clark visiting his foster father's grave. 
Probably my favorite panel in this comic.

JMS and team captured the Daily Planet and its characters well too.. great characterization for the supporting cast like Perry White and Lois Lane. Oh I forgot, Jimmy Olsen... he gets an upgrade in the book. He's kind of a bad-ass now. Read it and you'll know why. 

The origin of Superman was also changed a little bit - I mean, it is still the same, with the planet Krypton on the brink of destruction, Jor-El and Lara (Superman's real parents) putting the baby Kal-El (Superman) on a rocket ship to escape towards earth and all that... - with the cause of Krypton's destruction explained, and it does make sense. 

Davis' art is fresh and he gave the whole thing a kind of "manganized" feel (anime style illustrations),  new hairstyles and fashions, and even gave Metropolis more life and light than ever, without disrespecting the whole mythos. His take on the iconic Superman suit was great which I think should be used in the next Superman movies. Shane took his game to the next level here and was able to breathe new perspective in terms of the artistic side, which Superman comic books need nowadays.

Decisions... decisions... decisions...

Ah... finally!!!

Now on to the ONLY negative: the villain. I felt that the new villain is weak. He leads a legion of high tech aliens that actually looks like a cross between Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion. And the villain itself looks like Sting (the professional wrestler)! I still can't fathom how can they put Sting in there flying around like X-Men's Archangel. I thought it was funny.

But still, hats off to Davis and JMS for coming up with the idea of a new villain for this modern Man of Steel. 

 Supes' first fight.
See that chalk-white guy at the bottom right?

But other than that, it was a good book. Not as great as every one wanted it to be, but it was damn good and worthy of your precious time. Do yourself a favor... get this graphic novel and read it ( I have the damn link below!!!). Recommend it to others. It was written for fans and non-fans alike and for sure you will not be disappointed.

Rating: 4/5

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