Review: Superman: Earth One
There’s been a lot of coverage of Superman: Earth One. Most news sources (who rarely cover comics) have decided to focus on the character’s “new look” and attitude. So, he wears a hoodie for a few panels on one page. Who cares? Now that we’re past that, how does the graphic novel shape up? Written by J. Michael Straczynski with art by Shane Davis, the answer is it’s pretty entertaining.
Forget everything you know about The Man of Steel and brace yourself for a staggering new take on the world’s most popular Super Hero.
Best-selling, Hugo Award-winning writer J. Michael Straczynski (BRAVE AND THE BOLD, Thor, Babylon 5) and red-hot rising star artist Shane Davis (GREEN LANTERN, SUPERMAN/BATMAN) team up for this exciting launch of the EARTH ONE graphic novel series. Set in an all-new continuity re-imagining DC’s top heroes, EARTH ONE is a new wave of original, stand-alone graphic novels produced by the top writers and artists in the industry. The groundbreaking new line rockets into effect right here with the Super Hero who started it all – Superman!
What would happen if the origin of The Man of Tomorrow were introduced today for the very first time? Return to Smallville and experience the journey of Earth’s favorite adopted son as he grows from boy to Superman like you’ve never seen before!
The whole concept for Earth One is pretty good. As stand alone graphic novels it allows individuals who are somewhat familiar with the subjects or totally new to hop on without being dragged down by decades of continuity. This is a different Earth than the normal DC comics universe but that doesn’t matter at all. That just frees up the writer’s ability to go in new directions or do slightly different takes.
This is a modern Superman/Clark Kent who’s unsure of himself and what he wants to do. Many other reviewers have called this the “Twighliting” of Superman. Adding angst to the character. How wrong they are. Instead the character’s origin and biblical background are explored even more. This is an update, and themes that were only hinted at in the 30’s and 40’s are regularly touched upon in-depth today.
Superman is a Christ like figure. Sent from the heavens and given power to protect the world. But how would he act in the modern world? That’s the point of this take. Is it likely that he’d be humble and just show up to be a reporter? Or is it more likely he’d be shunned for having to hold back his entire life making himself an outcast and leading to self-doubt. This isn’t the anything of anything. It’s just exploring a logical progression of the character. Adding depth and allowing him to grow instead of starting him as the boy scout we know.
The graphic novel is entertaining. Perfect for the teenager or adult who’s interested in checking out a comic. DC has a goal here, to allow a starting point for individuals. It achieved that and got a lot of press to boot.
Plot: Straczynski can write, we know that. His goal is to give us something new, but familiar and he does so. Things are slightly different than what most of us know and it all works quite well. The character’s actions and reactions make sense. We’re given enough to understand his reactions and where his morals stem from. There’s a lot here and as a start, it’s quite good. We’ll see what builds upon it, because doing that with accessibility is the real trick. Rating: 8.5
Art: The art by Shane Davis is pretty tight. Everything is updated and modern but familiar. There’s a lot of queues taken, but at the same time there’s enough of a difference that allows us to forget about what we’ve seen before. Some of the fight scenes could of done with some panning out to get a bigger picture, and in some ways it feels a bit conservative in it’s panels and layouts, but it’s very tight and nice to look at. Rating: 8
Overall: This graphic novel has a point. To hook new readers and get some buzz for Superman. It’s an entry point for lapsed readers and new readers alike. It achieves both and then some. In the end though, the success or failure of this line depends on where it all goes from here. Overall rating: 8.25
Page count: 136 pages Price: $19.99 Release Date: Out Now
DC and Wildstorm provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.