Review: Superman Earth One

Published on November 30th, 2010

Believe it or not I read a Superman book. I know, it’s like seeing Al Gore drive a hummer. Now I don’t necessarily have anything against the Man of Steel, it’s more of a “I never really got into Superman” kind of thing. The only comics I have with Superman in the title are the Superman/Batman books, so I don’t really have any knowledge of the character. Well what do ya know?! J. Michael Straczynski went and wrote this new Superman graphic novel called Superman Earth One. Now what’s cool about this book is that it’s similar to Marvel’s Ultimate series in that it’s a new retelling of the story that exists outside the normal continuity. So I don’t have to know anything about Superman to read and enjoy this book.

earth1supermanSo this new book is the origin story of Superman, and it starts off with Clark Kent getting off the bus into Metropolis. Clark gets a room and then heads off in search of his purpose in life. The guy is so super that he completely excels at anything he applies for, be it a pro-football player, or a research scientist. He can literally do anything he wants with his life, so instead of going with any number of jobs where he’d be making more money than God, Clark sets his sights on The Daily Planet. The one place that isn’t impressed enough to offer him anything he wants.

Then the one remnant that Clark has of the ship that brought him to Earth as a baby starts heating up, in fact it’s hot enough to even burn Clark’s hand when he picks it up. We then find out that the piece is reacting to an alien invasion of Earth. These guys mean business, apparently they’ve spent about twenty years searching for the last son of Krypton and have destroyed numerous planets and civilizations in the process. The guy in Charge is named Tyrell, and he looks like a reject from The Crow. Tyrell tells the people of Earth that he will kill and destroy everything on Earth until he is certain his target isn’t on the planet. Clark tries to get the people of Earth to help him, but to no success. So he puts on the suit his mother made for him and we get our first sight of Superman.

For the first time in his life Clark is able to cut loose and use all his powers to fight off the aliens. When he gets to Tyrell the two duke it out for a while and then Tyrell goes into his long story about how he lived on a planet that was near Krypton and for whatever reasons the planets were bitter enemies, and the people of Tyrell’s planet made a deal with some unknown being to get the power to detroy Krypton, but in exchange they must make sure there are no survivors. Which is why they’re so obsessed with killing Superman. Then Tyrell puts out these drills all over Earth to destory it, Superman goes to stop them, but he gets crushed by this Red-Sun ray-beam. It’s his first real fight, and Superman’s in big trouble, who can help him? Jimmy Olsen can. Jimmy and Lois get a nearby truck and use it to tow Superman away from the beam, which gives Superman the chance to kick some ass, particularly Tyrell’s ass. Superman then decides to find himself a sweet nerd ensemble and go back to The Daily Planet with an exclusive interview with Superman which lands him a job as a reporter and brings everything to the Superman/Clark Kent we know.

There’s a lot of cool things with this book, the art is really good, and it’s a fun read, I really enjoyed being able to read this without having to deal with a lot of back story that I didn’t know. The problem with this book, that I normally have with Superman books, is the bad guy. I like the idea of Krypton having been destroyed by another alien planet that they were enemies with, but I thought they looked more silly than menacing. I also liked how they didn’t use a chunk of Kryptonite to fight Superman, but it was just substituted with a ray that reproduced the light of a red sun. I didn’t think it was as good a story as it could have been, but it did a good job of reintroducing the character in present times and I’ll definitely pick up the sequel book. I do really like the concept of these graphic novel stories that DC is putting out, and I can’t wait for Batman Earth One. This book retails for $19.99, but Amazon has it on sale for $13.59 right now, which is pretty good considering I’ve seen some people try to sell it for thirty bucks or more claiming it’s out of stock everywhere. So if you’re looking for that perfect gift why not this?

Ken Zeider