TNTM Trade of The Week: Superman Earth One Volume 3

Written by J. Michael Straczynski  Pencils by Ardian Syaf
Inks by Sandra Hope  Colors by Barbara Ciardo

Superman Earth One is by far the best of the Earth One books. Volume 3 is no different. The main reason that is, J. Michael Straczynski, the writer of this book and countless other monumental and legendary works. Ardian Syaf takes over art duties from Shane Davies for Volume 3. Another inspiring installation in the Superman Earth One series so lets get to it. 

Starting off with the story. We have the Luthor's, husband and wife, promoting their red sun tech to the UN. Zod arrives on Earth perpetuating the fear of Superman and Kryptonians. Zod introduces himself to Superman as a family member. He also goes to the UN to offer his own solution to the Superman problem. Lex is forced into a moral dilemma as he has to choose to side with his country and the UN or do the right thing. It's another gripping and harrowing tale. 

Part of what makes this story so gripping is the art. Ardian Syaf does pencils as the new main artist in this volume. This may be the best art I have ever seen from Adrian Syaf. Not only does he meet the challenge he exceeds expectations. It's crazy how similar in look, style, feel, design, and tone Syaf's art is to his predecessor, Shane Davis. The facial expressions are a lot more subtle in this than any of other books. Ardian excels at emotion in the eyes, environment, and detail in everything. Sandra Hope, the inker, does a superb job by adding a lot of depth and detail with her thin, focused, and light lines. The colors, done by Barbara Ciardo, bring a lot of life, energy, and tone to each page. Despite having multiple people on an art team where there was only one person doing everything in the last two volumes they were all spectacularly in sync, fantastically focused, as well as charmingly clear and concise with the story they had to tell through the art.

The writing is the other side of that story coin. The famous scribe, J. Michael Staczynski, is the unstoppable force at the helm. JMS is such a phenomenal storyteller because his work seems like a well written film rife with epic cinematic scenes but also littered with deep, emotional moments. He has an innate ability to look at something from a new, fresh, different angle and perspective that allows him to reinvent and do something in a way nobody has ever done before. His dialogue, narration, and overall story telling are realistic, true to the characters, their world, time, and setting. It's well thought out, intelligent, rational, genius, and logical. At the same time it can be very in your face and obvious. No words or time is wasted and yet it doesn't seem or feel rushed, too convenient or easy. Without realizing it the slow, deep, emotional moments truly do fuel the story. In volume 1 you had a young man looking for a challenge and his place in the world. For volume 2 you see a man vulnerable and trying to figure out his place in the world now that he's found it as well. This volume we have that man realize the consequences of his actions and discover the connection he has been yearning for. That all may sound quite cryptic but I assure you that is contrary to the book itself. 

Two volumes later Superman Earth One is still pleasantly surprising me. Ardian Syaf is at the top of his game when it comes to delivering amazing art along with Sandra Hope and Barbara Ciardo. J. Michael Straczynski recreates a world in which Superman can realistically exist in a way that works and makes more sense than ever with a refreshing, novel, unique take. Ardian Syaf truly outdoes himself and anything he has ever done before. This is one of those books that I can't stop rereading. It's a quick, easy, enjoyable read worth multiple views. I got more than my money's worth out of this book already and I'll probably read it again before volume 4 comes out. I for one can't wait to read another one. I give Superman Earth One Volume 3 a STRONG BUY.


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