Where do we place superman in our minds? I for one, and I don’t believe myself to be alone in this, always picture Superman growing up in my life, watching his choices as a young Clark Kent as a foil to my own, stating that if I was a better man, I would have done what Superman would have done. I when a rare occasion I feel as though my deeds would honor the man of steel, a man without a flashlight, I feel as my pride could stop bullets. He’s the icon, the image, the man who came not from our world yet exemplifies all that it is to be human. He is a man not afraid to shine, and give his all to the world around him.
To be honest, however, Superman didn’t start in our times. He was not raised in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s like so many of us are who frequent this website were. He was raised in a darker time, a desperate time, a time when a hero was needed not to be a mold for others, but as a hopeful ideal, that in the world there was still a chance for powerful people to do good things. A young boy, however, is not born into this role. Doing the right thing when living a life of good, strong parents, a financially secure house, and friends supporting you is a task any man can have. To be denied those things, becoming a hero becomes an epic journey of learning. This is the story that “It’s Superman” tells.
The time is the depression. Clark Kent is a young man in Smallville. He loves science fiction films. He has an ailing mother. He loves the farm he lives on, which is threatened by the economical decline. He has a secret. A secret he does not know. A secret that he really doesn’t understand. And he has no idea what to do with it. Lois Lane is a starting reporter. She plays with love, and loves to work. She wants her name on the byline, and will do anything to have it on the front page. Lex Luthor is an alderman. He is a socialite. The city loves him. He’s also a crime lord. He’s the city’s worst nightmare, and might possibly the world. That is the setting. The actors are in place. The epic begins.
I won’t lie, this book is a bit stale to the average reader. You can’t pick it up wishing Superman to be the unstoppable juggernaut that he in the comics we read the today. It’s one part Superboy, one part The Outsiders, and one part Grapes of Wraith. The concept of the world that Clark grows up in is more of the focal point than his powers, the villains, or future that is destined to him. In fact, many of the known facts we have in the Superman mythos is absent. In this book, Metroplis is replaced by New York. Superboy is never seen in Smallville. Jimmy Olsen is never seen.
That fact, however, does not diminish the story. It expands even more however, on the principles of becoming a man in the world that you and I live in, one that is a bit harsher than the DC universe. In this book, you earn what you work for, shortcuts will only cost you if you stop in the middle of them, and death is the final stop. If you are a friend of the Elseworlds series, I would say you have a chance at liking this book. If you a fan of just diverse literature, then I will guarantee that while the book might seem stale, you won’t ever put it down for good.