Monday, November 8, 2010

Graphic Novel Review: Super Earth One

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Shane Davis

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
It’s been described as DC’s answer to Twilight; Superman carrying a dark and lifeless persona, often hiding his face in the shroud of his red hoody.  He has trouble coping with life due to his uncertainty of who he is and where he comes from.  Even after Clark learns of his alien heritage, it does nothing to comfort him and even brings him into a deeper state of solitude as he now knows that he is the last of his kind.

As Clark goes through many trials and tribulations, having no luck in landing job, unable to maintain certain friendships, and feeling as if he has let Pa Kent down, and alien army commences in an attack on Earth.  Their leader, Tyrell, is in search of the last son of Krypton and vows to find him or he will destroy Earth and all its inhabitants.  Now it’s up to Clark to not only save Earth from total annihilation, but risk ending his own life before he is ever able to discover anything about it.

I’ve been excited about this straight-to-hardcover graphic novel since I first heard about it almost four months ago.  I love the idea of it, giving us a much darker Superman, verging on being just as secluded and scared as the Dark Knight.  I was lucky enough to have had my local comic book shop hold a copy for me as they sold out the day of its release.  And my expectations were met with glorious results! 

This story presents Clark Kent at a much younger age, closely resembling that of Peter Parker when he first discovered his spidey-abilities.  This gives Straczynski an incredible opportunity to hone in on the fragile mind of a 20 year old boy still coping with the uncertainty of his life. 

I found myself doing a compare and contrast of the Superman we know vs. the Superman of Earth one, as I’m sure everyone who read this was and is still doing.  The interesting thing I discovered is that, despite one being exceptionally nerdy and told to hide his abilities, and one acting just like himself and using his abilities to gain an advantage over everyone, both Clark Kents still feel disconnected from the rest of the world.  It will be interesting to see how different Earth One’s Superman will be to Earth prime’s. 

In many ways, this origin story is much more enjoyable than the familiar one.  We still have a head strong Lois Lane and an ambitious Perry White, but giving Jimmy Olsen a much more confident demeanor, resembling that of actor Chris Evans was a nice touch. But what this story does exceptionally well is not bring in familiar villains for the sake of having them in the story.  In fact, a new villain we’ve never heard of is brought into the mix that has the semblance of Lobo and David Bowie.  This was a very useful change in the story as it allowed for enough difference to occur so that it didn’t feel like the story was being regurgitated for Earth One’s Superman.

Very little is revealed about Krypton, but one thing seems to clear, the Krypton of this universe seems to be much more technologically advanced.  The connection the technology shares with Kryptonian DNA certainly helped to aid the story and add an interesting and retro feel to the story.

Shane Davis really didn’t impress me when I first began reading the book, but as I got further along in the story, the more the art grew on me.  Davis takes a much more photogenic approach, given the characters a more realistic feel and tone to them.  The dark, shadowy city as well as the darker color that covered each character helped to add to this displaced feeling that was obviously apart of Clark’s character.  This story is supposed to feel very different and unique from the one we all know and love, why not make the art feel different and unique? 

This graphic novel does present the possibility of more stories to be released based on the Superman of Earth One much of the story was left in the shadows.  Many things were even stated that were left unexplained, which leads me to believe there’s still more to come!

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
This book is going to have its critiques, its haters and doubters, but there’s definitely a very fresh and rejuvenating feel to this literary endeavor on DC’s part.  One could argue that this is the best origin story reincarnation that’s ever been published by DC Comics.  I for one assert that very sentiment.

Rating: 10 out of 10
Writing: 10
Art: 10
Themes: 10

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