We all know the story of the Last Son of Krypton, fired from his doomed planet at the moment of it’s destruction as the last surviving member of his race, destined to be a shining beacon to an entire planet, but this isn’t Earth Prime, this earth is eerily different, yet strangely familiar… This is Earth One!
SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE Vol. 1
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils: Shane Davis
Inks: Sandra Hope
Colors: Barbara Ciardo
Letters: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: October 2010
What You Need to Know:
Superman Earth One takes place on Earth One, (go figure) a world more similar to our own than to the mainline DC Universe. As of the appearance of Superman, there are no known Terran metahumans, making Superman the first superhuman on the planet. (others come later in the form of Wonder Woman, The Teen Titans and Green Lantern (coming soon!!)) Therefore the universe is a bit more grounded and realistic, not for long though…
What You’ll Find Out:
A young man gets on the train to Metropolis, he thinks about his life, this is his chance, he’s about to do something real.
The same young man, Clark Kent (of course) drops his stuff off at his new big city apartment, life is gonna be different now. He sets out into the world but is quickly assailed by a member of Metropolis’ seedy environment in the crappy neighborhood he moved to, needless to say, the mugger regrets his actions and Clark moves on.
He first swings by tryouts for Metropolis’ NFL team, obviously blowing everyone away with his physical ability, they write him up a contract, tell him he can name his price. Next he applies for R&D at Neodyne Industries, they tell him they aren’t hiring, he asks what their scientists are working on, and writes down an equation, the scientists take one look at it and their reaction is hysterical, this book very much rewards people who pay attention to the background, again he is given a blank check. We see him go all over town, showing the insane extent of his untapped potential, then, like a ray from the heavens, a newspaper catches his eye! He wants to write for the Daily Bu- erm… Daily Planet!
After a rousing discussion about sentence structure with the delightful Perry White (actually quite delightful for a writer like myself), we meet the Planet’s star reporter, Lois Lane! Next, we meet the star reporter’s star photographer, Jimmy Olson!!!! Perry tells Clark that although he might have an opening down the road, he isn’t looking right now, sorry. Clark thanks him for his time as a well-mannered boy would, as he heads out the door he tosses out the application, despite having all the opportunity in the world, he’s disappointed.
Clark takes to the sky, as Superman tends to do, he thinks back to his childhood, when his parents told him about the day they found him, the story is one we all know, but different slightly, what it really boils down to is Superman isn’t from around here, as we already know. They give him a small piece of his ship as evidence.
We cut to an army base outside Metropolis, an officer heads in, inside we see a giant hovering ship. Superman’s! The scientists tell her, that the reason they couldn’t find anything in the ship to tell them about it is because all the writing is inscribed on the very molecules of the self-repairing ship! Suddenly she receives an alert, a nearby cluster of passing meteors has altered course, headed straight for Earth!
We go back to Clark, he walks back home to find his apartment on fire, he swoops in unharmed, it’s just fire, after all. He discovers the piece of the ship he was left by his parents is white hot, burning down his whole building. Kind of a jerk move.
He flies the piece of his ship up into the stratosphere, it burns him after a hilarious revaluation, (“so that’s what pain is!”) the piece uploads a piece of the Kryptonian Codex based on the limited amount of molecules from the total amount of material from the ship. Knocking out Clark in the process. Meanwhile, the actual ship has lit up and begun repairing itself, putting out enough energy to light a city.
Suddenly a gigantic invasion force appears over the city, of course Lois and Jimmy run out for the story, at great personal risk, because of course they do! As they dodge incoming fire and crashing fighter jets Clark starts to wake up, having received knowledge from the Kryptonian Codex of his cosmic origin, he fully wakes up and jets off, up, up and away!
As he shoots off the giant ship sends out a transmission to the world, his name is Tyrell, and he’s here to kill the world! “Should that become necessary.” He has done the same with dozens of worlds, in an effort to draw out his target, 3 guesses who his target is! The military scrambles, there is absolutely no way humanity can win against this huge wave of alien tech.
Suddenly a blur swoops through, only showing up in one of Jimmy’s five frames per second as a blur, Clark swoops up on of the robots and drops it by Neodyne, everyone is too panicked to help, one of the robots targets Jimmy, he isn’t running like the rest, maybe because he knows he can’t be hurt, Tyrell reasons, he will test this theory.
Suddenly a red and blue figure streaks through, flattening the entire robot army, at last, Tyrell has found his target! Clark Kent suits up for the first time, THIS LOOKS LIKE A JOB FOR SUPERMAN!!!
The big showdown is incredible! Can Superman defeat the ultra-powerful Tyrell!? Read the book and find out for yourself! Man, this is a great book! Pick up your copy today!
What Just Happened?
This is the first of the completely stellar earth one series, it’s no wonder it made the bestseller list (rare for an OGN) because it is incredible. (the whole series has been so far!) I love the subtle tweaks to Superman’s character to make him feel more like an extraordinary character in an ordinary world, the first superhuman.
I love the sequence of Clark going around applying at all the jobs he would be great at, but he always lands on journalism somehow. Perry White, in particular, seems like a real editor that cares about the journalistic integrity of his newspaper, also sentence structure, which is vitally important.
The sequences set in Clark’s childhood are great, painting an amazing picture of his parents, as they should be, keep a close eye out for Jon Kent’s birds and the bees speech haha, it’s obvious that Clark wouldn’t be who he is without coming from a place of love.
Tyrell is pretty solid in a villain of the week kind of way, even going so far as to monologue his plan and evil origin to the chagrin of Superman, who solidly beats his butt up and down the block.
On a side note, I’ve read this a couple times but breaking it down for a synopsis made me realize it is really really similar to the plot for Man of Steel.
This is a great book, and a great starting off point for Earth One, which has a new story coming out in March with Green Lantern, I can’t wait!
The art in this volume is beautifully detailed and really clean, Shane Davis does a great job of setting the pace up, and Superman looks perfectly out of place, as a man wearing a skintight blue jumpsuit should!
As I said I love the way this book rewards repeat readings with small background details, although I kind of need to read all 3 in quick succession I think, in case there’s something that requires a more grand scope of vision.
First up on the extras front, is Clark’s interview with Superman that (spoilers?) lands him the job with the Daily Planet, then Lois’ article regarding the invasion. Second is a series of pencil sketches by the phenomenal Shane Davis of his early designs for Clark, Superman, and Tyrell.
All in all about 12-15 pages of solid backup material, pretty great in this era of the token cover gallery, or less.
If I could stomach the idea of giving literally anything full marks this would be the touchstone I would base that rating on, I love this book so much I bought the paperback and ran out for the hardcover so I could have a fancier version. This is a great book to get, regardless of format, and the Earth One series is a great slightly less dense alternate version of DC continuity, great for readers intimidated by the massive bulk of 80 years of comics. (Action 1000 is coming in March! I can’t wait, already preordered my copy!)
If anyone ever wants to contact me, look me up in my group for the love of comic books , I also have several comic pages dedicated to my various true loves, Batman, Spider-man, Marvel, Oldie Goldies and Hats! (Long story on that last one haha) or on Twitter @johnbatusijack
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