Superman: Year One

I just picked up issue one of Superman Year One by Frank Miller and John Romita Jr. This is one of DC’s new Black Label imprint, which features stories outside of DC’s regular continuity and geared towards a more discerning, mature audience. Oh, and it is oversized like the old B&W magazines but on high-quality paper.

A real nice package indeed!

Before I got a chance to pick it up, I went over the 90’s classic Miller/Romita Jr. collaboration, “Daredevil: The Man Without Fear,”, five-issue masterpiece again, and marvelled at the fine piece of storytelling that it is. The lush Al Williamson inks gave an air of professionalism that few inkers ever attain. It was a magical artistic collaboration and Romita Jr. often has said that mini-series taught him how to really tell a story. No costumes until the very last pages of the final fifth chapter.

Frank Miller’s writing was crisp and inventive, never saying more than needed and saying just enough to work in conjunction with the fantastic storytelling of Romita Jr. to embellish the art as much as the art embellished the story.

Fast forward about 20 years.

Now Year One was out a week before I could actually pick it up from my local comic shop, so I had a chance to read a couple of the reviews of the book before being actually able to pick it up and see for myself.

I’m not quite sure why so many people feel a need to tear things down, perhaps it’s to help build up an inferiority complex of the writer. I don’t know. Now everyone has the right to their own opinion, so don’t think I think everyone needs to agree with me, but the reviews I read were the typical negative tropes that tore down Miller for not being 22 years old and writing Daredevil anymore and the I hate Romita Jr. drivel.

I personally loved the book! First I have to hand it to DC. They really put together a nice package. I liked everything about the way the book felt, to the way the book looked.

Danny Miki inked the Romita Jr. pencils. Danny Miki can ink! He was one of the inkers on the Eternals from about 12 years ago and he did a wonderful job on the book. Alex Sinclair handled the colouring and John Workman the Lettering. It felt to me to be cohesive from the writing to the pencils, inks, colours and lettering. They all seemed to be on the same page.

To all the people who are of the “I hate Romita Jr.” anti-fan club, this first installment shows what a true master of sequential storytelling he is. Of all the 20 or so different characters in the story, none of them looked alike. At all. You can’t say that about too many artists and their ability to make all the characters unique.

I thought the story and how the Kent’s handled the young alien was quite genuine and the emotional restraints Clark had to try to keep in check so as not to wreak havoc on the citizens of Smallville, was also genuine.

Is this effort on a par with the aforementioned Daredevil Man Without Fear? I don’t know yet, two more issues to go. But I will tell you this, at around $10 per issue, I will be there and look forward to the new DC Black Label imprint to come.

Oh yeah, the weight portrayed in the Frank Miller cover is a thing of beauty!

Continued Happy Collecting!

Dennis De Pues
Dennis De Pues

Dennis is an admitted "Son of the Silver Age", having grown up with the influences of Silver Age greats: Kirby, Colan, Romita and Buscema.Three decades later, he is the creator of Crash!! and Galloway Park. More is definitely on the way.

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Robin Easterbrook
Robin Easterbrook
4 years ago

Couldn’t agree more with you Dennis. I have a few issues with the way the story is progressing but I am sure that when I see the way those issues resolve they will be dealt with very well. Everything doesn’t have to be canon from the ’60s. And it did feel real (is that the right term for a Superman comic book?). Overall, my biggest issue with what I’ve read so far is that the story is progressing so quickly. I don’t want this to be (or need it to be) 100 issues, but I think there could be a little bit more development of how this is all going together. Criticisms aside, I think this is looking to be a great series. And if some stories have to be told outside of the regular “continuity” (whatever that means) then I say go for it.

4 years ago

Robin, the line “Picking the tyke up is like lifting an engine block”. Great line and adds a weight to the character that I had not thought of before!