- You've been hiding your whole life, Clark. But if you do anything other than what I think you were meant to do, you'll still be hiding, because you'll never be able to show people who you really are, and what you can do. Life was meant to be lived full measure, flat out, pedal to the metal, don't live the rest of your life like a Porsche that never leaves the garage because somebody's afraid to scratch it. Live, Clark. Follow your passion. Show the whole world what you can do. Fly, Clark...
Synopsis for "Earth One"
Superman: Earth One is a graphic novel in the DC: Earth One series, written by J. Michael Straczynski with artwork by Shane Davis. The story is a modern update of the Superman origin told in its own separate continuity, meant as an easy introductory point for newer readers.
A young Clark Kent, 20 years old and fresh out of Smallville Junior College, sits on a train heading from Smallville to Metropolis. He has a lot to think about as he ponders the life decisions he will be making in the coming days. He gets a room at the Metropolis Hotel, and wanders the streets to begin to get acclimated. A holdup man picks Clark to rob, but is soon sorry. To Clark, it is a minor annoyance as he continues to plan his job hunt. Clark tries out for the Metropolis pro football team. Because he is much smaller than the other recruits, he is met with extreme skepticism and some derision. But as soon as Clark shows what he can do, the coach is beside himself to get Clark to sign a contract.
Clark has similar experiences at a major scientific research company, a financial services institution, and trying out for the Metropolis Major League Baseball team. Clark realizes he can work anywhere, and earn pretty much whatever he wants. His motivations are altruistic; he wants to earn enough to set his mother up for life. But Martha Kent urges Clark to focus more on his own dreams and aspirations. She says she really has everything she needs. What Martha really wants, and Jonathan wanted too, is to have Clark expose his abilities to the world and make it his mission to help people. Martha has even fabricated a costume for him, should he decide to go down that road. But she emphasizes that it is Clark's decision to make.
Clarks heads to the Daily Planet, and meets Perry, Lois, and Jimmy. Perry tells Clark that the Planet has declined from its glory days. Perry has no opening right now, but expects one to come up because of the high turnover rate. But Clark will have to prove himself, and the starting pay will not be very high.
As Clark flies into space to get some quiet time, the important questions are echoing in his head. "Where did I come from?" "What am I doing here?" "Who am I?" We see flashbacks as Clark remembers earlier times when he asked himself pretty much the same questions. In those flashbacks, we see Clark arrive on Earth, where he is discovered by the Kents. We see the Kents decide to adopt Clark. We see young Clark about age 7, fascinated as his parents tell him as much as they know about Clark's arrival, revealing why Clark is so different. We see Clark having to hold back as he is taunted and manhandled by a schoolyard bully. The flashbacks are interspersed with present day scenes. Clark spends time at Jonathan Kent's grave, talking about these weighty decisions, and discussing the risks of coming out of the closet.
Meanwhile, the US Army base had acquired Kal-El's spaceship for study. The head of the unit is Major Sandra Lee, and learn that her unit has been holding Kal-El's spaceship for the twenty years since it arrived on Earth. Sandra and others have been working to decipher its secrets. The ship has regenerative capabilities, growing back the parts that were damaged or lost in the explosion when it arrived on Earth. Sandra and her crew had discovered technological wonders, such as Kryptonian symbols written on the very electrons inside every single atom of the ship. Major Lee has made studying the ship her life's work, because she believes the value for mankind will be huge.
Clark discovers that his apartment is on fire, and races up ahead of the firemen to rescue his costume and also a small fragment of his spaceship that he keeps with his belongings. When he discovers that the ship debris is white hot, that may suggest to Clark (as it does to me) that the fragment started the blaze.
Since the fragment seems to be emitting some kind of energy, Clark examines it more closely. With his microscopic vision, he observes the Kryptonian symbols written on the atoms, just as Major Lee did. The ship fragment suddenly gives off an energy burst that seems to target Clark's skull, causing unconsciousness. Since Clark was aloft at the time, unconsciousness leads to free-fall, and an abrupt landing.
The ship fragment, still in Clark's possession, emits computer speech; and emphasizes that it must access primary systems (i.e. the rest of the ship) in order to continue downloading data to Clark.
At this point, an invading force from another world arrives in Metropolis. We see a large mother ship, and hundreds of smaller attack ships. We learn that the invasion is happening simultaneously at major cities around the world, and that Earth weapons are proving ineffective against the superior technology. We see the horrific damage inflicted by the invading ships.
Clark is missing the excitement, because he is still unconscious. His spaceship at the Army base has fully regenerated, and is now synchronizing with the smaller fragment. This allows the downloading of data to Clark's brain to proceed. Still unconscious, Clark sees images of Krypton, and of his parents putting him into the spacecraft and sending him off just as Krypton explodes.
As Clark regains consciousness, he is amazed to see the invasion in progress. The commander, Tyrell, explains that he is prepared to kill millions of people from Earth, in his quest to find one specific individual. He demands that his target must reveal himself and surrender, or else witness the carnage that will follow.
Clark, moving at invisible super speed, takes out several of the attack ships. As Clark hesitates to decide how he can take out the entire invading force, we see a flashback with Jonathan giving Clark a pep talk about coming out, while Martha irons the costume.
Clark realizes that he cannot stay hidden, and must reveal himself and enter the battle. As he dons the costume, he recalls his discussions with his parents about the outfit. In another flashback, Martha tells him why he must never wear a mask to hide his identity.
Finally, Clark confronts Tyrell. We learn that Tyrell is from the planet Dheron, and that his race and the Kryptonians were bitter enemies; and that they fought a war for decades or maybe centuries that prevented both sides from fully developing the capability of star travel. We learn that the explosion of Krypton was no accident, but was an assassination at the hands of the Dheron war machine. We learn that Tyrell's mission is to kill the Last Son of Krypton.
When Clark sees the doomsday weapons being readied in major countries around the globe, he sees red, and prepares to retaliate. But Tyrell catches Superman in a red sun high gravity beam, immobilizing Superman and causing great pain. Jimmy tries to crawl in after him, but is helpless in the crushing gravity beam, and must retreat. Lois gets another idea, and soon Lois and Jimmy are driving a heavy duty cement truck into and out of the gravity beam. They drag Superman to safety. Superman recovers immediately when free of the beam's influence.
Superman resumes his battle with Tyrell, and battles him hard. Meanwhile, Clark's spaceship blasts off from the Army base and heads towards a rendezvous with Superman. Made of indestructible Kryptonian metal, the ship makes an excellent weapon. Soon, Superman is inside of it, and using the ship to inflict extensive damage to the command ship.
Superman again confronts Tyrell, and pummels him convincingly. Their battle takes place inside another red sun beam. Superman vanquishes Tyrell, and then leaps to safety before the command ship explodes. Superman then goes around the globe and destroys the drill units that were intended for use in destroying Earth.
Clark buys some new clothes and adds glasses and a sweater to his wardrobe. This will be his new wardrobe. Back at the Daily Planet, Perry is ecstatic because Jimmy got a clear photo of the hero that saved them all, and the other newspapers are going to beg for the rights to use it. Clark shows up and identifies the new hero as "Superman". He says he has interviewed Superman, and gives Perry a first shot at the scoop before Clark takes his story to other papers in town. Clark is hired immediately.
The Daily Planet successfully sells countless newspapers about Superman. Around the city, people are interviewed about their opinions on Superman. Their reactions are decidedly mixed.
Superman heads to the arctic, where he begins his training using the spaceship as his teacher. He then heads back to Metropolis, his new home; as Jimmy gets another good photo of the hero.
Appearing in "Earth One"
- Superman (Clark Kent) (First appearance)
- Jim Olsen (First appearance)
- Jonathan Kent (First appearance) (Flashback only)
- Jor-El (Flashback only)
- Lara Lor-Van (First appearance) (Flashback only)
- Lois Lane (First appearance)
- Martha Kent (First appearance)
- Perry White (First appearance)
- Sandra Lee (First appearance)
- Tyrell (First appearance; dies)
- Dheronians (First appearance)
- J. Michael Straczynski on the creative angle of Supes:
- I wanted to emphasize the loneliness of a kid growing up knowing just how different he was from everyone else, who had to keep his distance for their protection and his own. Which ties into the element that seems to have brought in a lot of new readers, many of them in their 20s. At that age, we're all trying to figure out where the heck we fit in with the world, with each other, and with our dreams. Clark is no different at that age. If anything, his extraordinary abilities make that even more difficult. The traditional Clark Kent/Superman leads with his chin; this Clark is a bit shy and unsure of himself, just as the world around him is unsure of who this guy is and what he wants.
- * Despite the nearly identical name this comic takes place on a different reality (Earth-1) from the Pre-Crisis Earth-One.
- Superman Recommended Reading
- Action Comics (Volume 1)
- Action Comics (Volume 2)
- Adventures of Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- DC Comics Presents (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 2)
- Superman (Volume 3)
- Superman (Volume 4)
- Superman (Volume 5)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- Superman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Superman: The Man of Steel (Volume 1)
- Superman: The Man of Tomorrow (Volume 1)
- Superman/Wonder Woman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)