Saturday, November 30, 2019

Review: SUPERMAN: Year One #2

DC COMICS/DC Black Label – @DCComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Frank Miller
PENCILS: John Romita, Jr.
INKS: Danny Miki
COLORS: Alex Sinclair
LETTERS: John Workman
EDITOR: Mark Doyle
COVER: John Romita, Jr. and Danny Miki with Alex Sinclair
VARIANT COVER: Frank Miller with Alex Sinclair
64pp, Color, $7.99 U.S. (October 2019)

Mature Readers

Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Book Two

Superman: Year One is a three-issue comic book miniseries written by Frank Miller and drawn by John Romita, Jr.  It is being published in an over-sized softcover format and is part of DC Comics' prestige “DC Black Label” imprint.  Superman: Year One is a retelling of the early life of Clark Kent and of his first year as the superhero, Superman.  The rest of the creative team includes inker Danny Miki, colorist Alex Sinclair, and letterer John Workman.

Superman: Year One #2 opens at the Naval Station at Great Lakes, Illinois.  Young Clark Kent has left the bucolic grain fields of Smallville, Kansas to join the Navy.  Clark is just another untrained recruit... except that is not quite true.  Kent was born on another planet, the now-destroyed Krypton.  He was carried to Earth in a rocket ship and landed in Earth, specifically Smallville, Kansas where Martha and Jonathan Kent found him and adopted him as their own son.

The rays of the yellow sun around which Earth orbits has made Clark strong and powerful beyond human imagination.  Even holding back, Clark quickly sets himself apart from the other recruits.  But an officer has noticed Clark's peculiar abilities, and so has a denizen of lost Atlantis.  Will Clark's powers land him in trouble in two worlds?

At some point, DC Comics publicly stated that Superman: Year One would now be Superman's official origin story.  I think Frank Miller also said that Superman: Year One is set in the universe of his seminal comic book miniseries, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

If Superman: Year One is really the new official story of Superman's early years, it is certainly a strange one.  This comic book series is weird enough to be an attractive read, but I still find myself asking, “So what?!”  What is the point of all this?  What are Frank Miller's intentions?  John Bryne's 1986 miniseries, The Man of Steel, was a reboot of Superman, the character and his history.  It was both a marked departure from and a radical streamlining of all things Superman.  When The Man of Steel ended after six issues, a new, modern Superman emerged.  Superman: Year One seems like an event comics package, and Superman: Year One #2, with all its interesting oddities, does nothing to make the series seem more than a comic book produced by big-name creators.

However, the art, coloring, and lettering are oh-so awesome.  Yes, artist John Romita, Jr.'s storytelling is still clear, offbeat, and, at times, quite dramatic.  Yes, Danny Miki's inking brings a lush brushwork feel to the art.  Yes, Alex Sinclair's colors are radiant, so much so that he seems like the star creator hear.  And yes, John Workman's lettering is monumental as always.  Together, these graphic and illustrative elements crackle with power off the page and to the reader.  The story in this issue may not be great, but the art and graphics are fantastic.  The Atlantis double-page spread and the scenes with the “Kraken” are totally-awesome-dude illustrations in a comic book of awesome art.

I am still hopeful that this series can be a major, definitive Superman comic book series.  After all, Batman: Damned #3 redeemed the first two issues of that series.  I will certainly recommend Superman: Year One #2 because you, dear reader, will want to see the impressive art in it.

7 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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