cover image Superman: Earth One: Vol. Two

Superman: Earth One: Vol. Two

J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis. DC, $22.99 (136p) ISBN 978-1-4012-3196-5

This sequel to the bestselling first volume is intended as a sort of “Superman 101,” a graphic novel meant for someone who hasn’t extensively read comics before. Too bad, then, that it’s not likely to inspire a need to read further. In volume two, Clark Kent starts his double career as reporter at the Daily Planet and as Superman. The plot is straightforward and updated (Jimmy Olsen writes a blog), but there’s nothing extraordinary enough to make this anything beyond a capable Superman tale. Additions to the established mythos swerve into cliché: a hooker with a heart of gold is Clark’s new neighbor; Superman defeats a dictator by inspiring oppressed citizens to rise up. Davis’s art is crisp and energetic, especially in extended fight sequences, and an epilogue sets up the next volume with a clever and unexplored twist on Lex Luthor. This is an enjoyable Superman story, even if uninspiring for new readers. (Nov.)