Book Review – “Superman: Dawnbreaker” by Matt De La Pena

Published by: Random House (March 2019)

Reviewed by: Steve Younis

After reporting on the release of “Superman: Dawnbreaker” on the Superman Homepage, I stumbled across the book while shopping one day, and immediately picked it up to take home. It had been quite a while since I’d last read a Superman novel, and I was eager to give this one a read.

The fourth book in the DC Icons Series (the other three based on Batman, Wonder Woman and Catwoman), “Superman: Dawnbreaker” could be classified as a Young Adult novel, but don’t let that deter you from picking it up. I promise you you won’t be disappointed.

Set in Smallville while Clark Kent is still a teenager, this story finds Clark in high school, coming to terms with his powers, discovering new powers, while also dealing with some strange and troubling problems facing his home town.

Clark and his best friend Lana Lang find themselves in the middle of a mystery where people of Mexican background a disappearing. Racism, prejudice and immigration are very much at the center of this story, but while these real world issues can be a hot button topic, Matt De La Pena handles it all with great aplomb.

I love reading, and it’s a real joy when I find a book that I can’t put down. “Superman: Dawnbreaker” was such a book. Clark’s problems, the discovery and experimentation of his developing powers, finding out who he is, the relationships he has with Lana, other school friends, love interests, new friends and acquaintances, and Jonathan and Martha Kent… You’re along for the ride from the very first page, and I found myself wanting to continue reading, chapter after chapter, to see where the story would take him next.

Matt De La Pena has such a great handle on who Clark Kent is. While Clark struggles internally, he also grows and builds that inner resolve you expect from the Man of Steel. Young Clark is someone you wish you’d befriend as a teenager yourself.

While this is an “origin story” in many ways, it could also be described as the “adventures of young Clark Kent” in a way that the TV series “Smallville” wasn’t able to do. It has just the right blend of Clark Kent the teenager, Clark Kent the investigator, Clark Kent the superhero, and Clark Kent the friend.

It’s hard to fault this book. I’d give it a solid 5/5.

Purchase “Superman: Dawnbreaker” from

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April 12, 2019 1:56 am

Thanks for the heads up Steve! I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for this one!

Adam Dechanel
April 12, 2019 3:15 am

Great review! I’ll definitely be picking this up!

April 12, 2019 10:33 am

Thanks for bringing this to our attention and the recommendation.

April 13, 2019 5:51 pm

Funny thing just reading the first paragraph of the review and that is exactly how I found the book, I haven’t read it yet but Steve’s review has me stoked!