Frank Miller’s Superman: Year One continues the new origin for Clark Kent for DC Comics mature-reader Black Label. The famous writer partners with artist John Romita, Jr. to retell the early days of the Last Son of Krypton.
Clark Kent is graduating college at Kansas State University and gets a job at the Daily Planet in Metropolis. As Superman, he saves Louis Lane. Knowing she’ll recognize him, dons glasses and a dorky outfit as he becomes a reporter. He begins to save citizens in Metropolis and begins to get stronger. After a hostage situation, he meets industrialist Lex Luthor, who begins to put a bug in his ear about Batman, a mysterious vigilante who is interrupting Luthor’s business in Gotham City. This sets up the first standoff between the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight.
This series was definitely interesting and showed a Clark Kent who was adjusting to his growing abilities as Superman, showing the origin in Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Universe.” Originally, this was up for debate, but it has been confirmed that it takes place in the same world as Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns. While I find the content interesting, particularly his new take on Superman’s relationship with Luthor, I still found the bouncing timeline a bit confusing.
In the first issue, Clark is in love with his high school sweetheart Lana Lang. She sees him off to the military and bids him a fond farewell Likewise, his parents play an important role. However, in the second issue, neither his parents or his family are given more than passing references. After being given an honorable discharge in the Navy, Clark meets an Atlantean beneath in the ocean and falls in love with her. Likewise in this issue, she is not shown or mentioned. His love of the sea is gone and instead, he travels to the sky.
These vignettes do not connect in a meaningful way and while they are entertaining individually, they do not have any real impact on the overall story once you move on to the next chapter.
A note on the art, my take from the second issue stands. “I enjoy John Romita’s work. While it is somewhat of an acquired taste, I still feel that he has a unique style, but his work on this publication felt incredibly rushed and not up to his usual form of excellence.” I have been very disappointed with the cover art. Each one has been one disappointment after the other.
One thing I appreciate about Miller is how he portrays Batman. Instead of the confused or obsessive Bruce Wayne, he is a vigilante who loves to take out the bad guys, leaving them with broken bones and lots of bruises. I am not a fan of the Dark Knight sporting a gun (even just for show), but the Bruce Wayne who loves his “job” is one that I appreciate.
There is one bit of inconsistency in this to the “MillerVerse.” In All-Star Batman & Robin: The Boy Wonder, the Justice League seems to just be painfully aware of Batman, with Wonder Woman wanting to kill him. That’s why they send Green Lantern to talk to him to avoid a deadly confrontation. However, Batman and Superman have a standoff that is interrupted by Wonder Woman who says they must ally.
Overall, I did find Frank Miller’s take on Superman, a flying, tough boy scout, to be much fairer than his usual portrayal of the Man of Steel as a powerful dolt. That being said, the unconnected nature of the story makes it difficult to understand the direction of the plot. I find myself slightly disappointed with it, hoping for more.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of Black Clover season one and Ten Questions Dragon Ball Super Left Unanswered. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.