TITLE: Superman: Earth One Vol. 1 TPB
YEAR: November 2010
COMPANY: DC Comics
Story by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Shane Davis
Editors: Eddie Berganza & Adam Shlagman
I would imagine that it has been nearly 20 years since I have last read a “Superman” comic book.
While possibly my largest collection of comic books are “Superman” titles, there are too many mediocre storylines featuring Superman. I want a story with substance and reading overtime, you have your hits and misses.
I have been told that I should read the “Earth One” titles, specifically Superman and Batman are worth reading.
For those not familiar with the “Earth One” titles, it’s an ongoing series of graphic novels which retells the adventures of popular DC characters in a modern setting. No connection with the current DC Universe, so there are no constraints. And each volume appears to be released every 2-3 years.
The first “Superman: Earth One” title is written by J. Michael Straczynski (best known for creating the sci-fi TV series “Babylon 5”, “Jeremiah” and “Sense8” but also for writing the films “Thor”, “Underworld: Awakening” and “World War Z”) and art by Shane Davis (best known for his work on “Rage of the Red Lanterns” written by Geoff Johns and “Batman” Annual #25).
Clark Kent is leaving Smallville for Metropolis in order to find himself and what he wants to do in life.
He tries out for a football team and excels in all positions, he applies for an applied research and development position at Neodyne Industries and comes up with an answer for an equation that scientists have not yet figured out. Needless to say, Clark Kent is intelligent, athletic and really could work in any industry, may it be science, sports, etc.
But when he goes to the Daily Planet to apply, he learns about the state of the newspaper industry and how many journalists leave to work for a major newspaper. So, the Daily Planet has a high turnover rate and if there is an opening in the future, it won’t pay much.
In “Superman: Earth One”, to protect others from his powers, he has always been bullied and he has been a loner. He always wanted to fit in but didn’t know how. But knows that if he reveals his true self, he’ll never fit in.
Meanwhile, at the Second Army Advanced Technology Division, Major Sandra Lee goes into a classified location where a Kryptonian ship (where Clark Kent was found as a baby by the Kent family) is being held and found that alien hieroglyphics exist in the ship’s atoms and molecules.
And then out of nowhere, an alien threat has come to Earth. The same alien threat responsible for destroying Krypton.
And they know that a Kryptonian has survived an if he doesn’t reveal himself and surrender, Earth will be destroyed.
After reading “Superman: Earth One”, I can easily say that as a longtime reader of “Superman” comic books, I absolutely loved “Superman: Earth One” and if DC wanted to make a movie, J. Michael Straczynski’s storyline is perfect.
There are key differences with the storyline for “Superman: Earth One” and the “Superman” storyline that we have read and watched for a very long time.
In “Superman: Earth One”, how Krypton was destroyed is quite fascinating as Krypton and another planet are at war. And how their enemies were able to destroy Krypton, it’s a concept that was well-thought of.
Another key difference is the loneliness that Clark Kent had to endure. Because of his power, he had to protect himself by being alone, because he didn’t know how to fit in without people knowing his true power.
Obviously, Clark Kent may be seen as a nerdy reporter for the Daily Planet and in the comics and even on the “Smallville” TV series, he had friends. But in “Superman: Earth One”, he’s a loner and he is torn between what he should do in life. So, he leaves his mom and Smallville to find himself in Metropolis.
This Clark Kent, while emotional and lonely, aside from his super strength, he is also intelligent.
So, athletic and intelligent that he could make a lot of money as a scientist or an athlete but money is not his motivation, it’s finding his passion where he feels he can fit in and belong.
In “Superman: Earth One”, the spaceship that baby Clark (Kal-el, the name is yet not known) came in has been impounded and studied by the US military and they discover alien hieroglyphics on the ships atoms and molecules.
And to make things even more interesting, the alien race responsible for the destruction of Krypton know that a Kryptonian escaped the planet and now they have arrived on Earth, waiting for the Kryptonian to surrender or else they will kill off humanity.
J. Michael Straczynski’s story and Shane Davis’ artwork are fantastic. And the storyline is modern and the Superman storyline actually makes very sense and now I can’t wait to read vol. 2 and 3!
“Superman: Earth One” is highly recommended!