I Do Not Read Books (6): Superman: Earth One, Volume 2 by J. Michael Straczynski & Shane Davis

 Here is the next edition in the on-going yet randomly occurring series of book reviews from Fernando, my webmaster/taste tester/getter of things on high shelves.  He doesn't read a lot of novels, thus the title of the series. However, if he continues to enjoy the books he reads, I might turn him into a reader yet!

Superman: Earth One, Volume 2
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Shane Davis

DC Comics
Releases November 6, 2012
136 pages
Superheros / Comics

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Following the events of the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling graphic novel by acclaimed writer J. Michael Straczynski and superstar artist Shane Davis, comes the long awaited sequel SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE VOL. 2! Young Clark Kent continues his journey toward becoming the World's Greatest Super Hero, but finds dealing with humanity to be a bigger challenge than he ever imagined! From a ruthless dictator to a new love interest who's NOT Lois Lane, things are never easy for this emerging Man of Steel.

And the worst is yet to come, in the form of a man-monster with an insatiable appetite, the Parasite! The only thing that might appease his hunger is The Last Son of Kryptonian! But that will also mean he will have Superman's powers without his conscience, and Kal-El cannot come anywhere near him, even though he has to stop him!

Graphic novels don't count as books in the truest sense, at least not to me. Graphic novels are a fantastic way to tell a story and in this case a perfect way to reboot an iconic story. Superman: Earth One is the classic story with slight twists that result in giant ripples in the lexicon of the Superman legend.

Earth One does a great job of bringing Superman into the present tense. Volume 2 brings the same great artwork and combines a great story by adding sprinkles of familiarity and the icing of modern day cynicism. There are two main plot lines that I won't spoil too much. One - Clark is struggling to find his place as an average man in Metropolis. Two - the government has a growing concern about the Superman who just saved the planet.

I'll start with the second one because it leads the reader to a new interpretation of Lex Luthor. Lex and his wife Alex (yeah, that’s right, two "Lexs") are contacted by the military to evaluate the world’s new alien Superman. The concerns are genuine and held by many other world leaders. What happens if the new Superman decides to be not so just with his quasi-omnipotent powers? What will stop Superman if he decides he knows what is best for a country? How can the world’s superpowers control a man's conscience who can topple armies as he likes? How will this new Superman be held in check? And most importantly how will they defeat Superman should the need arise?

A few of the questions get answers, but the idea changes the entire relationship that the US has had in the Superman legend. A mistrusting government opens up the Superman story to many, many fascinating angles  that I hope will get stories in up-coming volumes.

The second main plot is more humanistic and reminds us just how lonely Superman thinks he has to be. Jonathan Kent has "the talk" with a young Clark and warns him that he is a man of steel and women are tissue paper, so intimacy may be something that Clark must take extreme caution with because the danger to hurt someone is so great. Clark’s loneliness is part of what make this story's duality such fun to read.

I haven't even described the actual monster that wreaks havoc on Metropolis because it's such a side note to the emotional and philosophical story that is the heart of Earth One, Volume 2. It was a fantastic follow up to the first and takes the legend that we have all grown up with and makes it so much greater, truly an epic take on the Superman legend.

 

Fernando and I received an e-galley from DC Comics through Netgalley. Thank you DC Comics for being super crazy awesome.