“Superman: Birthright”

supermanbirthright.jpg“Superman: Birthright” by Mark Waid.

“Superman: Birthright” is a twelve-issue comic book limited series published by DC Comics in 2003 – 2004, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Leinil Francis Yu.

The series revises the origin of Superman as well as the current Superman/Lex Luthor relationship. It returns to accepted DC continuity some of the history established before DC’s 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths event and subsequent retcon by John Byrne, including an emphasis on alien heritage over human upbringing, and also introduces elements of the Smallville television series and Superman movies. This series and Superman: The Man of Steel are both accepted by DC as the “official” canon for Superman in modern continuity, although lingering controversy remains over the many conflicting origins of both Superman and Luthor. An intentional ‘synergisation’ of the traditional “scientist” Luthor and the sleeker “businessman” Luthor seeks to reconcile at least some of these differences.

The story mostly follows Superman’s early years, including meeting Lois Lane and his first encounter with Lex Luthor in Metropolis. In the series, Luthor uses kryptonite and advanced technology to discover the history of Krypton, and then uses that knowledge to fake a Kryptonian invasion and thereby discredit Superman.

“Superman: Birthright” is interesting in how it blended established history and modern mediums. The “reinterpretation” of Superman origins gives way to a more human Clark Kent/Superman by reflecting his desire to help mankind yet having to be above us without losing the humanity in him. It also chose to answer questions that plagued some of the other medium that have become part of pop culture history.

In the graphic novel Clark Kent travels the world trying to find his place in the world and interview world changers of the world but his most profound encounter is with an African freedom fighter. As he is interviewing him and traveling with him, he befriends him. In an unsuccessful assassination attempt by an African warlord, Clark’s secret is discover, and their views of him becomes fearful. It showed how this encounter affected Clark and one of the reasons for him taking the Superman persona.

It gave one answer a question that cropped in the Smallville universe of if Clark and Lex were friends how do they become complete and total nemesis. Although the path that Smallville is taking is interesting. The way Waid wrote it “Birthright” gave it another level of complexity.

Although there is controversy reading I felt that it was interesting and worth the time to read. It gave a modern flare to 70+ years of mythos that Superman’s origin has. It made the icon of Superman more accessible to new generation of comic book readers. It also shows respect to those readers that have been with him for decades.


1 Comment

Filed under 2005, Book Review, Comic Book, DC Comic, Graphic Novel, Superman, Waid, Mark

One response to ““Superman: Birthright”

  1. i was going to grab a new Gn tomorrow and thanks to you this is the one thanks for the review

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