grim's Superman: Earth One #1 - Volume One review

The S stands for....

      If you've ever seen me post in a Superman related topic, you've probably read the words "I hate Superman" in some variation of bold text and marked with one or several explanation points.  However, this is a half truth. 
    Just as with many Marvel characters, i love the core of the character, but hate almost every interpretation in recent years. A man with Brainiac level thinking power getting tricked repeatedly by lead walls. A man with Flash level speeds being slow enough to get decked by a magic fist. And having long range powers and telescopic vision means he shouldn't even have to get that close to begin with. 
  But the truth is, i'm in love with everything Superman stands for. Truth. Hope. Humility. These things have always driven me as a person for as long as i can remember. They are the driving forces in Superman's character. And they are all emphasized brilliantly in this book. 
 

 

Plot

  Young Clark Kent has just stepped out of the obscurity of Smallville and into the massively diverse city of Metropolis. His goal: To find himself. As he excels in every field he applies to (athlete, Scientist, reporter, and so on), He finds himself searching more for happiness than for a huge income. 
 But when the past he knows almost nothing about comes to find him, Clark must decide if he is willing to give up promised fame and fortune to save the world, or let the past he knows almost nothing about decimate humanity. 
 

The Good 

 
As with almost  every re-imagining out there, Earth One does a great job of bending the legend of Superman into a modern masterpiece. Metropolis feels like every major city with its bright and promising days, and its seedy, dangerous nights. Clark stays very humble and quiet even as he baffles scientists and tosses linebackers two and three times his size.  Jimmy Olsen is slightly altered, but still lives up to the cool collected bowl of awesome he has been portrayed as rightfully in the past few years. And Lois is the same old Lois. Hot, hot headed, and as smart and intelligent as they come. 
 Almost all of the alterations to the story are smart and believable. Everything from the bright colors of the Superman costume to the act of villainous monologing are addressed in a sense that makes you think "...OK" and not "aw geeze...".  
 The costume itself looks perfect. Exactly what should be used in the next movie. Shane Davis knows how to alter something, and not change it until its stupid (coughcoughSUPERMANRETURNScoughcough...). 
 And the New antagonist fits very nicely into his back story. I'm actually kinda sad that he would never work in the proper DCU, cuz i think i love -er.... like him allot. as a villain... in a comic book... from a heterosexual/comics geek standpoint. Anyway. 
 

The Bad 

 
 One thing that i really hate about people writing Superman is how they all seem to want to make up their own explanation for something that should NOT be re-explained. The S on Superman's chest Stands for HOPE! It was adopted by his ancestors as a family crest, but it actually means something, just like every other hieroglyph out there. (example: The Swastika doesn’t mean Nazi, Nazi's just used it. It stood for something all on its own before they came along, and still does). Once again, we find the origin of the S being because "Clark's a Superman" and not  because it was found in the ship and stands for something more meaningful than a symbol to draw the eye. I feel so strongly that this whole concept is all stupid Smallvilles fault (one more season... one more season...). 
 I also have  a serious problem with the interview with Superman written by .... Clark Kent. Seriously? 
 In case you don't see the problem with this, let me shine a light for you. Superman is about Truth. He rarely lies. Usually, he tells vague half-truths about his identity. He makes you assume things, so he doesn’t have to flat out say "what? Im not superman!"   
 The original interview with Lois deal was necessary for a good handful of plot and character progressing reasons. For starters, it emphasized the chemistry between Superman and Lois, something that is vaguely noted upon in this story. It also Makes Lois the top dog, and Clark the second string. I cant remember any time when Lois lost a front page story to Clark, and the reason was because he respected her too much to beat her with a Superman exclusive only he could supply.  And when I read Clarks work, i cant help but feel like he really is thinking of normal people as simple idiots as her writes it. The way he describes Superman, and has a "conversation" with Superman... Its one thing to report a superman sighting or a superman action, but pretending he's in a room talking to you... that just feel a whole lot like lying. Clark Kent is not Peter Parker. he lets you Assume what you want, instead of pushing falsities at you. 
 

Summary 

 
If you loved   Birthright  . You might love this equally. Or you might just like it. But i don't think anyone with even a vague interest in Superman can hate this take on him, as its perfectly drawn and almost perfectly written. The only other problem i had with this is that it was $20 bucks for about 3 comics worth of story. I really would have rather this came out first in single issues. But Even the cover is beautiful, and i'm very happy i didnt have to wait 3 weeks (or months) to get the story. 
 I give this one a 4 out of five stars. If anyone knows where i can get one of those sweet leather hoodies, let me know.

   

9 Comments
Posted by Silkcuts

Agree.. $20 is a lot for it.  I saw it in the store and was like, what? I also passed on borrowing the advanced copy of it because I thought it was two skinny... I wonder if it was complete after all.

Posted by JoseDRiveraTCR7

Really, $20? Amazon is selling it for $11 right now. Always buy online.
Posted by rufug

This got sold out on pre-orders at my local comic shop x_x

Posted by Grim
@JoseDRiveraTCR7 said:
" Really, $20? Amazon is selling it for $11 right now. Always buy online. "
i try to buy the majority of my comics stuff in comics stores. I understand why it wa $20 (hardcover and awesome dont come cheap), but i feel they should have given other options besides buy it now for 20 or wait 4 months when we MIGHT make it a soft cover. I feel like a $10 digital download wouldnt have failed... or if they included a digital download sort of code with purchase. idk. still, it wasnt a waste.
Posted by caesarsghost

this is a great review- you really understand the CORE of Superman, which is what I love about him too.
Posted by termiteone4ever

I have to wait another 3 months before i can even buy this :(
Posted by Havenless80

The $20 price point instantly turned me off from this until I found it on amazon (got it for $10.79).  I'm amazed how comic book stores stay in business since it is so much cheaper to buy the books online, especially if you can wait for the trade book.

Posted by Grim
@caesarsghost: thank  you very much! I just feel like allot of the people who write him now days are just looking for some new edgy point of view instead of one that pays proper homage to arguably one of the most iconic character in comics.
 
Posted by neomech

Great review...thanks!   I had two minor quibbles. First, it seemed like you were suggesting that Smallville made the "S" stand for Superman. It didn't.  In Smallville the "S" is a Kryptonian symbol relating to his family somehow...nothing to do with the word "Super". Umm....someone told me that....errr...I've never actually seen Smallville of course.......Second, I actually think that interviewing himself isn't that much of a lie. He carries around two personas all the time. Interviewing himself, referring to Clark Kent as the interviewer and Superman as the interviewee, actually rings fairly "true" to me. That said, I'm with you that it should have been Lois doing the interview, for the reasons you mentioned.

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