Superman Earth One Volume 3 release date
Much like the Ultimate Universe at Marvel, it's enough to question whether DC still need the Earth One imprint in this post-New 52 landscape. These books can't simply coast by on being more accessible than the rest of DC's comics. They really have to make use of the contemporary setting and the emphasis on DC's icons as flawed, inexperienced heroes. For whatever faults the third volume of Superman: Earth One possesses, it does find greater success in exploring the depths of this troubled Clark Kent.
Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3 picks up shortly after the events of Vol. 2. If you haven't read that book recently, you might want to make a point of it before diving into this volume. Superman has emerged victorious in the aftermath of his battle with Parasite and his interference in the nation of Borada, but at a cost. The US military is more determined than ever to neutralize what they see as a clear and present danger. As J. Michael Straczynski revealed in the final pages of Vol. 2, the military have turned to Lex and Alexandra Luthor for help. Meanwhile, the sudden arrival of General Zod further complicates Superman's efforts to protect his home world.
I had my concerns about how well this graphic novel would be able to juggle the combined threat of the Luthors and Zod, and the final product bears them out. Pacing has always been the bane of the Earth One line. The various creative teams really have to scramble to fit in their plot beats and provide an adequate amount of character growth in the span of 100-120 pages. And the Superman books, more so than Batman or Teen Titans, have really suffered from compressed storylines and an insufficient focus on characterization.
Zod may well rank as the weakest villain of any Earth One book to date. Straczynski makes a halfhearted effort to shroud his motivations and true nature in mystery, but the opening flashback to a pre-explosion Krypton pretty much renders it all moot. Readers are never really given any reason to identify with the character or understand why he does what he does. He comes across as being evil for evil's sake. Even Man of Steel's Zod had his reasons for trying to wipe out humanity. This Zod is just a bully. Meanwhile, the uninspired character design (a pastiche of 1990's-era superhero costumes) does nothing to make this take on Zod stand out.
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