Superman: Earth One

Is a bit of an odd graphic novel, largely because it's unclear (at first) what purpose it's intended to serve. Joe Michael Stracynski (JMS from here on out, if I have to use the name again) was writing both Wonder Woman and Superman around the time this was released, but it's not connected to their continuity. It doesn't really function as an 'Elseworlds' title either, since it offers no twist larger than 'what if Superman were 22 in the year 2010, meaning that Krypton exploded roughly around 1987-8, and who could really blame them after all The Quest for Peace did to tarnish the name of their favorite son?' to serve as a basis for the plot.

Finishing the book, I couldn't understand why it had been published - while a fun reboot/reimaginement of the character, it seemed to serve as more of a tease than anything else. The story is built around giving the Superman mythos a race of villains - the denizens of Krypton's neighbouring planet, who are half-angel/half-demon - and establishing a central mystery: who gave those villains the technology to blow up Krypton? More importantly, why was that third party so intent of seeing every Kryptonian destroyed, to the extent that they would send the Demgels on a 20-year quest to track Superman down?

It's a good hook, and leaves the reader wanting more, which is a shame, since there isn't any more to the story. It was only a few days after reading the comic that I realized why the whole experience was so dissatisfying - despite all appearances, I hadn't been reading a comic book at all, but rather the comic book adaptation of JMS' pitch for the new Superman movie. Add a few more scenes of the Daily planet gang, some sequences of Superman stopping general crime (perhaps rescuing a kitten), and a bit more of an epilogue and you've got a perfect jumping-off point for a new movie franchise.

Which is why I'm so disappointed to discover that it's just not going to happen. No, with David Goyer and Christopher Nolan teaming up to deliver a (no-doubt overlong) script for director Zack Snyder to ruin, it looks like the new Superman movie is shaping up to be a stunning disappointment. I like Michael Shannon and all, but who really thinks that making another movie about General Zod is going to be a winner? Is he somehow going to out-Zod Terrence Stamp?

Okay, enough general complaining - it's a tragedy JMS didn't get the Superman movie despite his doing such a great job with Thor, but in the end, I kind of understand it, since the climactic threat - a series of drills positioned over the Earth's surface, might have been a little too close to the ending of the new Star Trek movie for the studio's comfort.

Hey, speaking of those drills, here's the one thing I really had a problem with in the comic!

First off, isn't it convenient that the optimal place for positioning drills to contain/destroy the Earth's core is near incredibly recognizable national landmarks? Secondly, why is there a drill in both Egypt and 'Africa'? Especially when the dunes and camels are offered as stereotypical 'Saharan' imagery, which Egypt is actually inside of? Couldn't they have dropped one on the Sydney Opera house? By that Statue of Jesus in Rio? Near the camp that MacReady wrecked to kill The Thing in Antarctica?

You only have six images to represent the entire world that Superman can apparently sense, and you can't pick a single one from the southern hemisphere? Weak, JMS. It's called Easter Island, and it's every bit as recognizable as the Eiffel tower.

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