Looking toward the skies: A view on Superman: Earth One.
Full disclosure as I begin this look at the book.
I am an admitted Superman nerd.
I’ve dressed up as Superman.
I will at least try out anything that involves Superman in a series at some point.
He’s honestly one of my favorite characters in comics.
For me this character is one of my favorites in just the aspect that yes he’s one of the most powerful characters in comics period and yet at his core he likes being human and one with humanity to be with them. The classic Superman is the Mask while the real person is Clark Kent. For that’s a big part as to who he is.
Now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way it might come as no surprise to you that I really did enjoy the heck out of this book. I read it and was surprised at to how much I really did like it. I had heard little views here and there and at my own comic shop I’ll get a bit of flack for liking this as much as I did. J. Michael Straczynski is a bit of an controversial person in comics in a way because of well different things over the years. From his Spider-Man work, Thor work, and onwards you either get the you either love it or sweet lord above you hate it. I’ve liked a good bit of his work and hated some of it too but this one really struck me. The way JMS looks at Superman and Clark Kent are fascinating. He spends the early part of it just giving you the foundation of this character and giving you the history of this organically. Instead of trying to blast it all out in the early pages and cram it he lets it flow. Organically doing an origin story and still letting the story breathe. For there’s a curse with the first books of any series like this is some people are trying to cram in everything under the sun with it and this book doesn’t try and cram it all in at once. It’s a relatively realistic look at the character and his development. What’s interesting is the showing of Clark trying out different job interviews for it got me curious in how JMS had him in different job interviews just trying to see what he could do. For the thing is Clark knows he can do whatever he wants. If he wants to play football he could do it, if he wants to work in a high end corporation he can do it, and yet the one job that always fascinates him and yet eludes him is the Daily Planet. Minor Spoiler but not too big it’ll derail your enjoyment of the book. That’s one thing that struck me in this title.
One part I absolutely adored and I mean adored was the conversations that his parents had with him about his powers and himself. Being on the outside looking in with his abilities and all he can do is a major part of this. There’s a few other the conversations that I don’t want to spoil for you because they’re so beautifully done. I’m not kidding if they decided to either use this as basis for the live action movie or even an animated movie this would strike me as stuff that should be in there as much as the epic battle scenes in the book. See the one thing about Superman is you get into conversations about how he’s so overpowered and he has no real character. I call pure and simple you just haven’t read enough into him. This book would be one of the books I would show people that Superman has a lot of character if you look into him further. Seriously I would look at it this high as being one of the more interesting modern looks into the character. These sort of Elseworlds stories in which I know it’s not but these alternate world stories can be all over the map but this one really got me. It uses great elements of what I loved in Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek in how to humanize Superman for he is truly human if the right writers get a hold of him and get that. I digressed a little there but I had to put that in.
Now before I forget I have to add in the artwork to this story. I had read a few things on this and I’ve also looked at a great bit of the work that Shane Davis has done and this is probably one of the best showcases of his work to date. His abilities with this are astonishing. You can see a bit of everything with this book as to what he can do. From the great little character pieces in this title in conversations and just the subtle looks and into the great battle sequences in the second half he does it all. One segment of the character pieces I enjoyed was the job sequences and also the great last segment that once you see it well I don’t want to spoil the last few pages for you but needless to say it was beautifully done. All I can say is whatever DC has in store for him next it better be one great follow up since this is one great looking book in addition to being well written.
I’m going to also get into the details of the first full reveal of Superman and how that’s handled. For his fight is against a character named Tyrell that well I won’t spoil why the fight but needless to say I’ll get into that a little more next paragraph. The whole sequences of his first fight to the last parts of it were handled nicely. There’s one part of their fight that in showing the intensity of it I couldn’t help but be impressed by how it was handled. Then in the homage in the book from Action Comics #1 which you’ll know it when you see it. The full reveal I mention in the first part of this segment is well just this nicely handled panel to panel reveal of the costume and then that “Oh wow.” moment of Superman shown with all the ships of the invasion of Tyrell’s fleet of Earth is impressive to say the least. There’s more than a few segments I’m dying to mention with the looks at Krypton but the spoilers would be intense and all sin and I’m keeping this to minor spoilers and that’s it.
There’s one major thing that if I don’t mention it it will drive me nuts later is the explanation of what happened to Krypton. It’s one of the more different ones and the way it’s retold is pretty cool and I liked it. It was one of the ones that I know some people are going to have fits over it in one way shape or form but I thought it was interesting. You’ll see what I mean when you read this book but it is definitely different. Same conclusion just done in a different fashion. The ship too plays a different part too for there’s a few extra elements that make sense as to why they’re there and how it all works out. I liked the new twists put into the origin story and how it all comes together.
In closing definitely get this book. It is worth every penny. Strangely enough and I was surprised by this I put it in the tops of my favorite Superman stories. Not number one but definitely at least in the top ten if I was keeping track. So run don’t walk and get this book. It is beyond worth your time.