Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid

This 2004 compilation of the mini-series pays homage to Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster’s vision of Superman’s origin while expanding on certain details. Superman’s origin has been re-written, revised and expanded countless times since the 1940s. Mark Waid’s version is among the best, and he keeps the basic ingredients intact without altering the mythology. The story follows Superman from Krypton through his Smallville years and into Africa where he was involved a rebellion. From here to Metropolis where his boyhood friend, Lex Luthor, re-emerges as a villain. Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White are here, too. The heart of the tale is Kal-El’s appearance as The Man of Tomorrow, and in how Luthor attempts to destroy his reputation. Mark Waid does a fine job with this and I enjoyed it. The artwork by Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan is powerful, but relies too much on sharp lines and digital manipulation. The digitized coloring works well enough, but there’s just too much of it. However, I did agree with the choices in rendering Superman as an immensely powerful, muscular being. Overall, this is a fine re-telling of Superman’s origin, and all of the creators should be proud of the end product. Mark Waid understands Superman, and he understands the complex mythology that comes with the character, and for some writers that mythology is baggage. I think Waid’s story is fantastic, and does all of the characters the justice they deserve.

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