We all know the story. Scientist on a dying planet sends his son to Earth. Son raised by two Kansas farmers to become World’s Greatest Hero. Nothing you can do to change that right? Wrong. J. Michael Stracyznski and Shane Davis deliver an original, thoughtful, fun take on the Man of Steel.
If you know me, either online or through the store, you know my obsession with Superman. I can quote entire scenes from the Richard Donner classic; I can tell you anything about Kal-El, Post-Crisis. I was given the opportunity to review Superman: Earth One. Given all of my history with the character, I dived into this with much enthusiasm.
Verisimilitude. Richard Donner posted that word on every set of Superman: The Movie. It seems like J. Michael Stracyznski and Shane Davis have also taken it and pasted it over their computer and drawing board, respectively. The new plot points Stracyznski weaves into Earth-One, knowing that there’s no constraint on him to strictly adhere to the origin, are very real, and very post-9/11. Geoff Johns touches upon it with his interpretation of General Sam Lane, but Stracyznski takes it and inhabits his world with it. From the scared people wondering what Superman is doing on Earth, to the government with an alien vehicle that suddenly springs to life, to a young man on the verge of a great destiny and not sure if he really wants it; The story is amazing in its closeness to reality, and to its faithfulness to the spirit of Superman’s origin. Shane Davis’ artwork is also brilliant. Different, but still respectful to the original material. The Superman suit is different, but in a way that makes sense; it’s what you’d expect from a blanket turned into heroic attire.
The Earth-One graphic novel series was intended to introduce non-comics fans to comics in a continuity free, easy manner. Superman: Earth One is a large success in that respect. J. Michael Stracyznski has penned a story that readers both new and old will enjoy, with wrinkles in the fabric of Superman lore that are fresh and appreciated, and with a love that’s apparent with every line and detail. Shane Davis is now a name I would consider among the top in the comic book world, as his style, wildly different from his previous work, (Superman/Batman) is vibrant and detailed. If you have a friend who wants to get into reading comics, hand them Superman: Earth-One, just tell them you want to finish reading it first.