Sunday, November 14, 2010

Superman: Earth One

Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Shane Davis

Let's do a thought experiment: you are Superman. You're twenty year old, moving from Smallville to Metropolis, the Big City, for the first time. You're still wet behind the ears, kind of a hayseed, but still, you know, fucking Superman. And you know this. The big question: do you become the world's first superhero, and also the world's biggest freak show, or do you use your superpowers to get rich and get laid? Quite a pickle. And you should make up your mind, because there's an alien invasion in like, twenty minutes and they are super-pissed about something...

I really like this book. Released as a hardcover from comic book super-scribe J. Michael Straczynski (The Twelve, Babylon 5), Superman: Earth One is officially the hot-shit of the minute. The second printing was announced before the first even hit the streets and that first run is nowhere to be seen, sold out as soon as it materialized. And there's good reason for that. Many attempts have been made by many writers to bring Superhero X "into the twenty-first century." The results of these endeavors are generally mixed, typically erring on the side of pandering. References to Twitter and Facebook, after all, aren't gonna cut it. But Superman: Earth One feels contemporary without resorting to these kinds of ploys. I could go on about Clark Kent as a metaphor for our culture in the new century--brimming with possibility but also directionless, a little vain, probably dangerous--but my co-bloggers would make me eat no end of shit for this.

More than anything, S:EO reaffirmed what working in a comic shop has made inescapably clear over the past few years: there are no bad superheroes, only bad writers. Even the most well-worn, cliche ridden funny-book characters can seem relevant and interesting in the hands of a proper wordsmith. And you can't get much more worn than old Supes.

Plus there's a pretty good giant-robot fight in the third act.

7 out of 8 iPods streaming YouTube videos of Justin Bieber.

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