Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Shannon Davis
Other info link: Here
Just last week I posted a somewhat late review/thoughts blog about the stunning Superman Earth One volume 1. In this review I said that felt this work had stunning writing and a unique cinematic feel. I liked it so much that I went out yesterday specifically to buy the next volume. I consumed in to one sitting and was left not stunned but a little disappointed.
The writing was not as poignant as the first book with one of the characters actually scripted in a way that made me instantly dislike her when I think I was supposed to find her brand of flirtation cute. This isn't to say that Straczynski's pop culture infused brand of narrative didn't shine through at times. There was a running thread of Bob Dylan lyrics that really hit home (I love Dylan to the point of obsession) to anyone familiar with his work. There was also a nice moment between Clark and his new love interest that had a Rocky Horror theme. None of my problems with the book where about specific scenes but more the story its self.
In the first book we saw a fledgling Superman face off against another similarly powered man (alien) who trashed Metropolis and made the world question Superman's value and alliances, with the Daily planet team getting mixed up in the battle.
You see my problem right? Other than some minor changes in the state of Clark's personal life it's pretty much the same story. Sure there are some moments about half way through when he almost looses his powers (not a spoiler its on the DC preview) that we see a timid and frightened Clark (just for a page or so) and then there is the badly thought out suit of crystal armour that makes an appearance at one point but the basic plot is too similar to the first book.
Straczynski questions Superman's morality during the story using believable scenario's and well thought out moments. We even get a glimpse of a darker side to the character that is fresh and I think needed in modern stories.
It sounds like I'm, praising the book here and in many ways it is a great story however the lack of core originality from a writer of this caliber is just inexcusable to me.
My next issue with the story is how little the Daily Planet team actually appear. They are almost used like set pieces. I can see how Perry White was being set up as a father figure and role model for Clark but this needed more exposition to really show a bond forming between the two men. Louis Lane is almost absent from the plot entirely as she is investigating some fact about Clark's life.
As I closed the last page I realised that I had read a book that was inferior to the fist one in every way. A few of those 'deeper' moments in the story showed that Straczynski was trying to craft a more personal story but fell short to the point that I think these moment may have been written for the first volume and where cut. This book is still worth the cover prize and I'm sure the next one will be back on track but this time it's just inferior to volume one.