DC Comics reviews for 6/19/19 – Superman Year One #1

Superman Year One #1

superman year one #1

After some of his more divisive recent work, it’s easy to forget that Frank Miller is one of the greatest creators this industry has ever seen.

Still, what could Miller say that could add anything new to the Superman mythos that hasn’t already been explored by creators like Byrne, Johns and Morrison? That’s the big question for Superman Year One #1 and if Miller doesn’t completely answer it, he provides enough incentive to stick with this deluxe sized story to see what’s shaping up to be a compelling alternate vision of Superman in this Black Label title.

Most of the issue focuses on Clark’s life at Smallville High School where he associates with outcasts who are frequently targeted by bullies. One of those pals is called a slur, which even under the Black Label didn’t need to be included. It’s not like saying the racial slurs made the bullies that much more repulsive.

Given the focus and Clark’s confusion if he should do something, it seemed like Miller was setting up a far more contemporary tragic turn of events. A school shooting would be the kind of the thing that would forever stick with Clark Kent on his journey to becoming Superman.

Instead, Miller takes a different path and shifts Clark’s focus to a new relationship with Lana Lang. As usual with stories focusing on Superman’s formative years the highlight is Clark’s interaction with his adoptive parents Jonathan and Martha Kent. Miller offers a diffent take on the Kents that alters their personalities ever so slightly while still remaining true to the core of the characters.

Miller teams with artist John Romita Jr. on this story making for a dream team of collaborators. Romita is an artist who has a very signature style that you’ll either love or hate. He’s always been consistent with his pencils and there’s no sign he’s lost his skills. Given the content of this story is more conversational with very little action or displays of super powers, Romita showed a great flair for raising the dramatic stakes with character expressions and smart perspectives. Alex Sinclair’s colors are fantastic throughout, which is a key component set in sunny, picturesque Smallville.

As a Superman origin story maybe it’s not that surprising, but don’t go in expecting this issue to end with Clark in his familiar blue and red outfit. This is a slower burn despite the larger page count. For Superman fans, Miller is just doing a deeper dive on the time frame a lot of writers tend to breeze by to get to the good stuff.

Rating: 9.5 out 10