Superman: Earth One – A Review

J Michael Straczynski (JMS) and Shane Davis make Superman cool

SupermanEarthOneIf there is any right way to reboot Superman, it can’t get better than this– finally we have a Superman this generation can connect with! It’s one of the best coming of age stories incorporated into Superman’s journey. The story has a younger Clark Kent who like any other youngster about to start his life, is faced with choices. And even though one might think, that his choices may be slightly different than yours or mine, that’s not the way its dealt with here.

What would you do if you have the kind of superpowers Clark does, at that young age? Chances are that the whole ‘dedicating life to serving people and saving the world’ concept wouldn’t kick in then.

Clark explores opportunities to excel in different fields– be it in sports, business, science etc. He knows what his abilities can grant him and his family. That is what really works in this reboot– a human factor which has not been explored earlier. Finally we have a Superman who’s conflicted about life’s real issues and the ‘duality’ factor becomes secondary. The storyline in the larger sense pretty much follows the norm but in a slightly updated way. For example, the whole new explanation about how and why Krypton exploded suddenly is done in a very cool way. Also, in terms of characters, JMS introduces a couple of new ones into the world of Superman and it fits brilliantly– a government-employed female scientist works to crack the mysteries of a piece of alien technology, and a powerful male alien with a giant spaceship and a special connection with Krypton wants to finally complete his life’s sole objective.
Something about JMS that one notices here is a very strong and deliberate emphasis on journalism. Never before in a Superman story has that element been so prominent and in-your-face. The Daily Planet and its team of journalists in JMS’s world of Superman are strong and empowered. Lois Lane takes badass to a whole new level. Jimmy Olsen’s character does a complete backflip from being a buffoonish young photographer to a daring brave heart for whom being ‘on the scene’ is more important than life itself. The end of the book features a superb interview between Clark Kent and Superman (guess what gets him the job at Daily Planet?). It’s really something that stands out.

In terms of the art and design, Shane Davis keeps it real and maintains a dark tone to reflect the protagonist’s complexities. And it works. No change in Superman’s costume although I’m not sure how I feel about those ‘pirate like’ red boots. Overall, visually everything seems to be happening at sunset.