Monday, November 5, 2012

New Release Reviews For DC Entertainment, for 31 October, 2012

Superman. The Man Of Steel. Clark Kent. Kal-El. Who doesn't know this character? Even if you're not a comic-book fan, who doesn't know at least something about the last son of Krypton? Cartoons. Televisions series. Video games. Toys. Underoos.

There's even a new movie about him, coming next year that sort of launches DC Entertainment's attempt to mimic Marvel Entertainment's recent successful film universe. That's going to be a tall order as Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor were pretty awesome. But this Superman ...

We missed the first volume of Earth One. Which was a disappointment. Straczynski's Babylon 5 is an all time classic around the blog and there was excitement when the graphic novel was cracked open. So how did it do?

Superman: Earth One Volume Two - Graphic Novel

It's not clear to the reviewer where in time JM Stcrazynski's re-imagining of Superman evolved in relation to the Grant Morrison New 52 re-imagining. Both had similar goals. Updating Clark Kent for the 21st century while still retaining some of the magic and mystery while forcing their way out of half a century's continuity.

Both seemed to hit the same core-problem which is there isn't much to be done with Superman, beyond power adjustments and motivation. Both seemed to have weakened him, a bit. Similar to what John Byrne did in the mid-80s reboot. It probably doesn't matter as scale seems to shift by writing team.

Supporting cast tends to be where most of the changes occur. Honestly, both updates were pretty mild for the Daily Planet tweak. Lois is still scrappy, though neither story seemed to suggest she was the object of his affection. Jimmy is a little more social media friendly. Perry is still the gruff veteran. Except for Lex Luthor.

Morrison sort of mixed the old, mad scientist with the newer businessman/politician and ended up with something weird. It's not surprising as Morrison seems to enjoy making things outside of typical comparison.

The jury is out on Straczynski's Lex who, only, appeared in the last few pages. Even then, his motivation was more in reaction to his lady-friend who seemed to have a beef with Superman. Lex really just seemed to be on the peripheral.

Subtle story differences aside, this new work appearing only in graphic novels is a bit confusing. It's not a whole heck of a lot different than the monthly Action Comics release. Mostly, it feels as though it is Clark Kent as Peter Parker. More human challenges that superheroic.

It's not really clear what purpose it serves other than presenting stories in a different length. No longer is the creative team focused on 22 pages a month. It's 132 pages whenever it's finished. Perhaps this is the ultimate purpose.

Elevating comics into a more literary form. Longer form stories published less frequently that allows the creative team different ways to tell a story. Maybe this is the real value as it shifts perception on how a story is presented. Maybe it is a way to expand the reach of comic books. To find other ways to reach a larger audience, and a more mature audience.

And that is kind of cool.

Score: 8 out of 10