Before the Final Crisis, Earth One was the designation for the mainstream DC Universe where the “Silver Age” version of the Justice League reigned. However, the 52 story changed it to where “New Earth” was the mainstream and later The New 52 designated “Prime Earth” as the mainstream universe. Earth One has become an entirely new universe where the superheroes are just starting out. They are rookies and this world has little or no history with superheroes.
Both Volume 1 and 2 of Superman: Earth One are written by J. Michael Straczynski & illustrated by Shane Davis. Volume One brings us a Clark Kent who is considering using his powers for fame and fortune. He is super intelligent, unlike some of his other incarnations, so he is primarily considering becoming a scientist to help the world. He does not like his powers and would rather live a normal life.
He goes to the Daily Planet where he meets Louis Lane, who wants to be a commentator, but Perry White is holding her to a real journalistic standard. Jimmy Olsen is now James Olsen and is an adult photographer who is a lot more mature and adventurous than his previous incarnations. He rejects the job, but has flashbacks to when his mother made him his Superman suit. In this version, the iconic ‘S’ is not of Kryptonian origin, but one his mom makes for him.
A Dheron alien called Tyrell comes to Earth, revealing that his race was in a constant war with Krypton until they wiped them out with an unknown ally. They demand that the surviving Kryptonian turn himself over or they will destroy earth. Clark Kent decides to reveal himself as Superman and battles the aliens.
The graphic novel reveals Superman’s inner struggle, but overcomes it. He is seen as a hero and manages to find a balance between Clark Kent and Superman. It was a great story and one I recommend.
Superman: Earth One Volume 2 is a different story, however. The government is suspicious of Superman and is trying to find a way to kill him with STAR Labs help. A man named Raymond breaks in and gets exposed to chemicals that change him into the villain known as Parasite.
Clark, instead of moving forward as Superman, is still struggling with his identity. He starts dating a girl in his apartment Lisa. His inner battle is still going back and forth. In a nutshell, he is being a wimp.
When he engages the Parasite, he encounters an enemy he did not expect and almost dies in the process. However, he finds a way to beat Parasite with the help of the AI from his shuttle that originally flew him to Earth.
Meanwhile, the government, still suspicious of Superman, hires two consultants. They are Alexander and Alexandra Luthor aka Lex2.
The second volume decides to wussify Superman. I am sick of this trend to make the superheroes wimps and whiny about who they are. The very reason we read their stories were because they knew their identities and didn’t struggle with them. While they dealt with heartbreak and loss, they still stood strong. Taking this away, especially from Superman, just makes him a typical jerk with super powers. I hope they get wise and change the story in Volume 3.
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