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Superman: Earth One is a 2010 graphic novel from DC written by J. Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Shane Davis. It is the first installment of DC's "Earth One" line, an Ultimate Universe of sorts where the DC Universe's most iconic characters are re-imagined for the modern era.
The story focuses on a 21 year old Clark Kent that moves to the big city of Metropolis per the advice of Ma Kent in order to basically "find himself" and do something with his life. A little more sullen and moody this time around, Clark soon discovers that, when a strange evil rears its head, that he's destined to become something much greater than he realizes, even if he doesn't want it at first.
A second volume to the Superman: Earth One series is currently scheduled for a November 2012 release, over two years after the original graphic novel came out. As a preview, DC currently has two page captures posted to their Facebook page, but no details about the plot have yet been revealed.
Tropes found in this series:
- The Ace: Clark at the start of the story - He has contract offers from all of the sports teams & laborotories in Metropolis.
- Adorkable: Clark's "disguise" could be considered this, though YMMV.
- Alternate Continuity: Done to "freshen up" the character without any serious constraints.
- Anti-Hero Substitute: The Clark Kent in this story comes off as one of these for the mainstream Superman.
- Beware the Superman: The public displays shades of this towards the end.
- Big Damn Heroes: Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane manage to pull this off. Their courage and integrity in the face of Tyrell's attack are what convinces Clark that he wants to spend his life working at the Planet--since he could have easily become a wealthy athlete or scientist if he'd wanted to.
- Black Helicopters: Invoked by name. Jonathan and Martha get the idea that there's something strange about that baby when a bunch of mysterious men arrive in Black Helicopters to carry off the spacecraft that he arrived in.
- Bus Full of Innocents: A whole planet's worth.
- Canon Foreigner: Tyrell and his entire race.
- Clark Kenting: Clark starts doing this towards the end of the book - There's a page devoted to Clark changing from The Ace to mild-mannered nerd, both by changing his mannerisms & wardrobe.
- Clark Kent Outfit: With a decidedly hipster spin.
- Coming of Age Story: For Clark. Since he's in his early twenties, this can be a bit of a problem for some readers but of course, YMMV.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Clark considers giving this a go.
- Da Editor: Perry White manages to maintain this image.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Tyrell, the villain, displays shades of this.
- Well, except he considers himself "the hero" and Clark "the villain".
- Darker and Edgier: In a few ways.
- Clark is a hell of a lot more brooding and emotional, for one thing.
- Krypton was intentionally destroyed at the climax of an interplanetary war, for another.
- The implications of Clark's extra-terrestrial heritage are explored a bit more than usual--Jonathan and Martha are forced to keep him a secret after government agents secretly impound his spaceship in a secret base.
- Even after he saves Metropolis from Tyrell, most of the citizens seem to openly distrust him--for all his heroism, he's still considered a freakish outsider by most.
- Disturbed Doves: Several of them in the book. What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic?
- Easily-Thwarted Alien Invasion: The climax hinges on one of these.
- Expy: This version of Clark Kent comes across as Peter Parker dressed up as Superman.
- Fight Off the Kryptonite: Done to Clark with red sun radiation. Leads to a Big Damn Heroes moment.
- Fling a Light Into the Future: Averted. This is not the reason Clark was sent to Earth.
- Galactic Conqueror: Tyrell's race seems to have headed this way with the aid of their mysterious benefactors after the destruction of
- Genre Savvy: Even Clark thinks its ridiculous that a villain would hold up a fight to reveal his motivations.
- Tyrell immediately agrees, but then points out he was only doing it so Clark was focused on him & didn't notice them setting up their Doomsday machines.
- Genius Bruiser: Clark. In this version, Super Intelligence is officially added to his list of superpowers.
- Heroic Bystander: Jim Olsen. Ace photographer.
- Human Aliens: Tyrell's race all look like a cross between David Bowie and Lobo.
- It's All About Me: We get it Clark. You have a lot of options, just pick something to do and stop complaining.
- Kryptonite Is Everywhere: Surprisingly averted.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Clark's reaction to having a genocidal alien take his adoptive home hostage.
- The Men in Black: In this version, Clark's Kryptonian spacecraft gets impounded by a group of these guys.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lois looks a lot like one Detective Morgan. And you'd be forgiven for mistaking Tyrell for Ziggy Stardust.
- Power Nullifier: Red sun radiation takes over for Kryptonite. Technically, the weakness exists in the mainstream continuity as well, but Kryptonite was always more convenient.
- Sort-of. Obviously it would be difficult for any of his enemies to utilize this weakness.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Leads right into a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- Ripped from the Headlines: The Daily Planet's depiction is heavily rooted in the current state of the newspaper industry. At the beginning, Perry White openly complains about the blogosphere ruining the integrity and quality of the news, and makes it clear that the paper may soon go out of business. In the end, getting exclusive coverage of Superman's battle with Tyrell is the one thing that saves the Planet from completely folding.
- Sequel Hook: Just who proposed the destruction of Krypton to Tyrell's people, and they did is never explained.
- Shout-Out: In addition to looking like David Bowie, Tyrell may be a subtle one to Blade Runner--he's named after the Mad Scientist from that film, he has white hair like Roy Batty, and the marks on his face match the pattern of Pris' makeup.
- Shut UP, Hannibal: Clark delivers one of these to the villain out of sheer boredom with his speech.
- Super Intelligence: Superman has it in this version.
- Teach Him Anger: Good going there, Tyrell.
- Token Minority: The Kryptonian.
- The Coats Are Off: ...and the costumes are on.
- Thou Shall Not Kill: Averted. Hard.
- Though it may not exactly have been on purpose. Still, Supes doesn't even TRY to save Tyrell and doesn't seem at all sad about it.
- World of Cardboard Speech: Subverted. It's given to Clark by his father through a flashback but the results are the same.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: No Tyrell, you are not the hero of this story.