Reviewer: Eden Zacarias
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Shane Davis
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $19.99 U.S.
Release Date: Available Now
I have to admit that I haven’t picked up a Superman comic lately and it’s not because the Man of Steel has lost touch with me but because a part of me thought that there isn’t much more than can happen to our favorite Kryptonian hero. After picking up Superman: One Earth, I found the love I have for this character rekindled by a new kind of flame that could only happen when a brilliant writer and a first-rate artist come together to bring us a re-imagined Superman that doesn’t fail to make you believe in Superman once again.
If One Earth was a movie it would be considered a Superman reboot of the Dark Knight mold. It finds a 20-year old Clark Kent on his way to the thriving city of Metropolis on bus rather than by air because he wanted time to reflect on the meaning of his existence and his future. You see, Clark has come to get a job that would earn him more than enough money to live comfortably knowing that his mother back in Smallville will never have to worry about money ever again.
So begins Clark Kent’s quest to find a job fitting of his abilities in a city that could swallow a person whole … a city where – on his first night – has Clark face to face with an armed thug. Of course, it’s the armed thug who has to worry. Still, this doesn’t stop him from showing up at all his scheduled meetings. His first stop is football tryouts where he leaves the coach flabbergasted. In his other appointment, he actually solves a complicated theorem at the Research and Development department of a big corporation. He even tries his hand at other jobs with high-paying salaries.
Then, as fate would have it, Clark Kent finds himself in front of Perry White, the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet. A lively and colorful character, Mister White tells him that the publication isn’t doing as well as the other rags in town but he likes the articles he wrote when he was writing for the community college paper. It is during the meeting that Clark first meets Lois Lane and photographer Jimmy Olsen. Both Lois and Jimmy care about their jobs and push themselves like no other writing and photography professionals. As inspiring as it is to see them, the job doesn’t pay much so Clark tosses the application in the trash.
Meanwhile, in a secret military installation, the remains of an alien craft is still being studied but suddenly, thanks to an approaching anomaly in space, the craft starts to emit energy. The result of this activity with the craft makes a fragment Clark had in his room heat up enough to start a fire in his pad. Grabbing the fragment and flying away with it, the off metallic piece beams strange memories of another world and of parents that could have been his blood relation. Together with what Martha and Jonathan Kent, his adoptive parents, told him, it begins to make sense.
As it turns out, the ship reacted to an actual alien invasion. As fleets of invader ships start showing up and Clark caught in a sort of mental download with the ship. In the meantime, the attack on Earth begins and a leader reveals himself to the world. He is Tyrell, a being looking for somebody and will destroy the world if that somebody does not appear before him. Naturally, the world does not know who that person and Major Sandra Lee who has been overlooking the ship that brought the infant once called Kal-El thinks it might be the person who came with the ship.
Conflicted and wondering if this was the moment his parents had prepared him for back at the Kent farm, it is watching Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane doing their job and confronting the alien leader via a robot that he is inspired to finally step up to the plate to defend the planet. Donning the suit his mother made from the material he was wrapped in as an infant, Superman is born. As he goes up against Tyrell, the being reveals a lot about his people and what led to the fate of Krypton.
The battle is as epic as you would expect from a Superman story and even more impressive thanks to the determination of both these super beings. One fights to carry out a mission that was placed before him and his people and the other to defend his adopted home. Tyrell proves to be a very formidable foe who even pushes Superman to his limits and even Jimmy and Lois step in to help him.
I won’t ruin what happens next but I will say that the threat still remains as the entire world begins to wonder what to make of Superman. Is he Earth’s savior or is his very presence a danger to the planet? As Superman considers his new role and he finally makes a decision on the career path for him. Superman becomes known and he is fulfilling his parents wishes. On a side note, Straczynski adds a Lois Lane article and Clark Kent’s “interview” with Superman at the end of the story.
Without a doubt, J. Michael Straczynski tells a very human story of an extraordinary man that isn’t even human as he finds his place in a world that isn’t his and his fate as defender of the planet. This is the familiar Superman mythology but on a whole new scale and Shane Davis adds the cherry on top of this already impressive piece with art that is stunningly beautiful.
We’ve seen reboots and re-imaginings before for our favorite super heroes in comics before but it takes a true pair of talents to mess with the Superman mythos and do right by it. Superman: Earth One is not only the right way to retell the Superman story but it is also the right way to tell a story of this magnitude. Both Straczynski and Davis deserve a lot of praise for this great piece of storytelling.
COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN
A 20-year old Clark Kent arrives in the city of Metropolis not only looking for career path that will do right by his mother back in Smallville but he is also here to find his place in the world and finally fit into a world that will never understand his power. When an alien invasion threatens all humanity, the young man finds out the truth about himself and answers the call to do what is right.
Shane Davis is a true comic book artist whose work is not only pleasing to the eye but also unforgettable. The gorgeous details are just too hard to ignore. There are also sketches at the end of the story that are worth a look.
Superman: Earth One is like discovering the Man of Steel all over again so believe me when I say that reading this one is like being a witness to the rebirth of a legend. Straczynski and Davis boldly shows us a re-imagined young Superman for a new generation of fans. If you haven’t read a Superman story lately, this is the one you really should not miss.
Review copy provided by DC Comics