Superman: Earth One Vol. 3
The follow-up to the NEW YORK TIMES #1 bestselling graphic novels SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE VOL. 1 and 2 is here! Written by J. Michael Straczynski with art by Ardian Syaf, SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE VOL. 3 follows a young Clark Kent as he continues his journey toward becoming the World's Greatest Super Hero.
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Cover date: January 2003
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Dan Jurgens
Inker: Bill Sienkiewicz
Reviewed by: Michael Bailey (GarrickMcNider@aol.com)
Later Ty talks with Jimmy Olsen about the day Superman died. Jimmy also discusses the picture he took right after Superman died and how despite the fact that it made him famous he wishes he never took the photo. Ty finally asks Jimmy if he thought that Superman saved Metropolis and Jimmy replies that without Superman not a building would have been left standing and that he minimized what could have been a major disaster.
A man in a wheelchair rolls up to them and tells that the disaster was minimized for most but not all. The man introduces himself as Silas O'Leary, formerly of the Metropolis Police Department. He goes on to say that if Ty wants to know the real story that day that he should forget Superman. To Silas all of the desperate men and woman of Metropolis trying to get out of the city but couldn't were the real story. Ty informs Silas that is why he called him for an interview.
Silas asks why he would call now when no one else has ever bothered to ask. Ty explains he got Silas' name from a list of patients who were admitted into the hospital that day and that he suspects he'll know why he called Silas once the former sergeant tells his story.
Silas begins by telling about how they knew the monster was coming and he was one of the police officers helping to evacuate the citizens. While the situation was chaos Silas wasn't worried because he figured the creature would land somewhere else. Suddenly anti-aircraft fire lit up the sky and Silas realized that could mean only one thing. Trouble was coming and Doomsday landed right in the middle of where Silas was helping with the evacuation. Eighty-three people died when Doomsday landed and Silas took a two-by-four in the back. Silas didn't black out though and watched as Doomsday walked across the wounded and crushed them.
After Silas finishes his recounting Ty realizes that the real story isn't who didn't die the day Doomsday ripped through Metropolis but those who did.
Ty's next interview takes place at the Carlini Mental Rehabilitation Center where he questions the Prankster, who at first doesn't want to talk about Superman until Ty mentions it was about the day Superman died. The Prankster explains that in terms of Superman rogue's gallery there was something of a hierarchy and that the man who would eventually kill Superman would be something of a king. To the Prankster when Superman died at the hands of an unknown named Doomsday it was a joke without a punch line. So the Prankster crafted the perfect gag.
That night the Prankster went to a party hosted by the men who had battled Superman in the past, the only men who wished to celebrate his demise. Upon arriving the Prankster attempted to convince the crew of villains that he had created Doomsday from an indestructible material called Sonaculous One, which he enlarged and controlled though mental commands. Instead of bowing in tribute as he wanted them to the rogues simply laughed at the Prankster who was informed that Professor Killgrave and the Toyman had already tried that gag.
While the Prankster became a victim of his own prank he felt satisfied since the world got its underwear in a ball for nothing since Superman didn't die, which was the grandest prank of all. Before leaving Ty tells him that he was wrong about the world grieving for nothing, very wrong.
Back in the Metropolis suburb that was decimated by explosions the previous night Superman questions a police captain on the cause of the explosion. The captain explains that an improper fitting in the main line gave way and leaked gas until the whole neighborhood blew. Superman asks if it was an accident and is informed by the captain it's hard to tell and that he couldn't imagine someone doing it on purpose what with the neighborhood having been through so much since rebuilding. The captain tells Superman that this is the second time they met the first time being when Doomsday plowed through that very street. The statement gives Superman pause as he ponders what could have caused the explosion.
Story - 4: Well, it looks like my take on Ty Duffy in last week's review was a little off. I took him for the type of man who wanted to look the part of a writer without actually being one. I thought Ty wasn't dedicated to the idea of being a reporter. From the looks of issue two I wasn't so much wrong as misguided.
The second issue of DAY OF DOOM was excellent. The character of Ty Duffy continues to develop and I have to say that now that I have a little but of insight into his character I'm actually starting to like him. Dan Jurgens fleshed him out a bit more and made him very believable. His whole mindset of wanting to be the reporter that writes the really big stories and makes a difference in the world makes him admirable. You can almost understand his frustration at being given the story of the anniversary of Superman's death. He looks at it as a story with no bearing or meaning.
This is why the character of Silas O'Leary is so important to the story. Silas' story of being caught in the initial landing point of Doomsday showed Ty how the common man was affected and gave him a hook for his story. Silas himself was a decent character and the description he gave of Doomsday's rampage through the city and his favorite bar gave a new perception to the death of Superman. While I stick to my guns that the initial death and rebirth storyline left little in the way for the views of the everyday citizen of Metropolis and that the trilogy holds up as some of the best Superman stories ever I have to admit that Silas' story really got to me It also got me thinking of how the destruction an event like Doomsday would affect the common man.
Like issue one the second issue continues the post 9-11 feel without losing the focus of the story. Silas' story could have just as easily been the story of one of the police officers that had to deal with the World Trade Center buildings collapsing. At first I was a little put off by this, but as I let the issue sink in I realized how much it worked and how weaker the story would have been without Silas' story. The graphic nature of the story was a bit creepy but also some really solid bit of writing.
The Prankster's take on the death of Superman was amusing and served to balance out the issue. It seemed slightly Silver Age for Superman's enemies to have a party to celebrate the Man of Steel's death, but it worked, especially with the villains shown. The fact that three of them tried to claim credit for Superman's death was a nice touch. I also enjoyed the fact that the facility Prankster was incarcerated at was the Carlini Mental Rehabilitation Center named after the nickname of Mike Carlin, who was also called the Great Carlini.
Jimmy's appearance and reflections were enjoyable as well. It makes sense that he would have serious reservations over the fact that he took the first picture of the deceased Superman. Also he served the function of showing two drastically different takes on the day Superman died. From his standpoint Superman saved the city while from Silas' the real heroes and tragedies that day were the everyday people who lives were ended or forever altered by forces beyond their control.
My only complaint with the story was that we saw none of the mystery figure from the previous issue. With only four issues in the series it would have been nice to see some of him or her, but the story really didn't warrant an appearance and Superman's investigation served to fill in that gap.
Overall issue two was a really good comic. It wasn't so much better than issue one as it built upon the first issue and took it forward. I really liked Silas O'Leary and the Prankster's appearance was amusing. I look forward to the next issue with interest.
Art - 4: The art was a definite step up from the previous issue. Sienkiewicz's ink didn't overwhelm the pencils like issue one. The layouts continued to be solid and served to enhance the story, especially in the scenes with Silas O'Leary. The gradual pull back of the camera gave the sequence a cinematic feel and solidified the drama of the scene.
The first appearance of Superman in the issue on page five was classic Jurgens even with Sienkiewicz's inks. The layout on page six was nicely done as well and gave this Jurgens fan what he wanted in terms of seeing Dan draw Superman. Page, though, five served as my favorite page of the book.
Cover Art - 4: Not as striking as issue one's but it does grab you. The single balloon dripping with blood surrounded by confetti was certainly eye catching and would most likely make someone want to pick up the book.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2003.