Superman: Birthright by Mark Ward

(Graphic Novel Collection 40, 41)

The entire modern day retelling of Superman — from his early days in Smallville with Lana Lang and Lex Luthor, to his first meeting with Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White in Metropolis — is recounted in this lavish hardcover collection by writer Mark Waid and artists Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan! SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT collects the best-selling, critically acclaimed 12-issue maxiseries of the same name and features an introduction by Smallville television producers Al Gough and Miles Millar, plus a sketchbook section showcasing Yu's development work in addition to notes by Waid. Witness the making of a legend, as Clark Kent learns the tough lessons needed to become the World's Greatest Hero! Also watch as Lex Luthor comes to Smallville, befriending Clark. But it's a relationship that may ultimately spell disaster for Metropolis and the Man of Steel.

There were some creative changes I dug - like Clark Kent being an established reporter long before Superman came into Metropolis and the journalist donned his hat at the daily planet. This makes more sense of him passing his dual personas off without people catching on. His parents help him make the costume, even with a joke about the glasses not fooling anyone.

I like the connection with both parents living and the e-mails back and forth through the crisis's in The Daily Planet. After the intro of the book where Clark as a journalist finds other heroes in human form in Africa, he comes home for awhile to face some issues with his parents. It gave credibility to the story and their relationship.

I liked the prominent Daily Planet setting, Lois's character, Jimmy, Perry White. I enjoyed Lex was focused on quite a bit but I found a lot of that part rushed. I do like how they made Superman into a 'powerful Superman version' - some wimp him down a bit.

I disliked him not knowing his origins, no fortress, and the rushed feel with the main story-line. It makes sense the city wouldn't trust him fully at first, but the story started losing me a bit after awhile. I also didn't like the whole hack into Krypton thing, just felt weird for me. Lex felt a little hokey.

The art was great, I liked so much focus on heat vision. They captured most of what makes Superman Superman and Clark Clark. Anyone catch the little Batman figurine in one panel when he's in his room? Awesome. There's a little humor too - love the wink he gives Lois as a nod from the movies when they meet, and the Africa selfies e-mailed home to mom.

It's always interesting to see different interpretations of Superman's beginnings - this one took some risks, working with some of them but not pleasing me with others.

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