It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's... an angst-ridden Superman!
It's always hard trying to reimagine a celebrated fictional character who has been around for almost seventy years. Writers want to touch upon the rich history of the character while also inventing a fresh and new feel for audiences who may not be as familiar with who he or she is. A good example of this would be Clark Kent, better known to the world as Superman.
He's been through a lot; a comic book, a movie, a television series, a cartoon, another television series, eventually even a new movie to name just a few. He even died. That's only scratching the surface. Kal-El of Krypton has been seen in so many different incarnations it is hard for us to imagine what he was even originally like. With that in mind, why not try to make a modern Superman who's a little more relatable and a little bit less of a do-gooder. Let's still make him Earth's hero, because he wouldn't be Superman if he wasn't.
One look at the cover of Superman Earth One and you know you're not dealing with your father's Superman.
Shane Davis, responsible for the art featured in this graphic novel, uncharacteristically gives Superman a leather jacket, some heavy emo-esque bangs, and a hoodie. The artistic style compliments Michael J. Straczynski's practical take on Clark, who as a 20-something that just moved to Metropolis, is more interested in getting a job than becoming a hero. Clark is aware of his powers and what he can do, but is more concerned with his recently widowed mother. Clark feels responsible for her. He wants nothing more than to make sure she's financially secure. His job isn't even about him or his future; he just really loves his mom.
His mother, like his recently departed father, recognizes the good that Clark can do with his awesome power. She also recognizes the price Clark would have to pay if he was to reveal himself. Ultimately, she just wants Clark to be happy. Clark just wants his mom to be taken care of. I don't know about you, but that's more interesting for me to read about than any story about Superman facing down Lex Luthor. It gives Superman a humanity we can relate to. Since he's an alien from another planet, that is no small feat. Almost like being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Clark can't hide from his destiny forever. When Earth is threatened by an alien armada, he is the only one who can stand up to the invaders. In the process, Clark learns about his heritage and his home world. Think you know the story of Krypton? This tale rewrites that origin, which I had somewhat mixed feelings about. My doubts are somewhat dissuaded, however, when Clark hits the scene in his Superman costume for the first time.
Whether you love it or hate it, Superman Earth One is a graphic novel that readers invested in stories about Clark Kent can't deny. This is a rejuvenated Superman for 2011, who I firmly believe is a hero worth reading about.