Superman's origin has been reimagined many times over the years, most recently in DC's "New 52" reboot (LJ 11/15/12), Geoff Johns's lackluster Superman: Secret Identity, and this compelling series. In the first volume, Krypton's destroyers track that world's last survivor to Earth and threaten to destroy this planet as well, forcing a young Clark Kent to step up to its defense and publicly reveal his powers. Here, he's pitted against a new, serial-killer version of the energy-draining Parasite, a villain who opens up new possibilities to the U.S. government's quest for a potential countermeasure in case Superman ever goes rogue. VERDICT Eisner Award winner Straczynski (Babylon 5; Amazing Spider-Man) does more than contemporize Superman's story; his hero is a wild card who grew up alienated and isolated, whose human parents' wishes for him are more about self-actualization than doing good deeds, and whose birth parents have tasked him with avenging Krypton against its enemies. And his new girlfriend, Lisa Lasalle, has a shameful secret that has nothing to do with aliens, villains, or super-science. Davis's artwork combines classic superhero design with contemporary detail and a slightly dark edge. Fine stuff.--S.R.[Page 78]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC