[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Clark Kent, the man who will become Superman, has joined the United States Navy. Despite his best attempts to not show off, he eases through the physical training. He impresses his superiors with his sharpshooting ability, and he is even accepted into Seal training. That’s not all he does and discovers though; during training on the beach, Clark hears singing and sees swimming women far off on the horizon. They are mermaids, and, one night, Clark sneaks off to swim with them and discovers their undersea civilization. Clark Kent finds Atlantis itself.
Superman: Year One #2 follows our Man of Tomorrow through his time in naval training and what he discovers through it.
I imagine this issue will be (or already is) controversial for a number of reasons; some might be reasonable and others less so. We get to see Clark Kent learn how to shoot guns and kill people, and that is a strange sight for sure. We even see Clark suit up and go out on a seal mission. However, Frank Miller makes it work because we’re watching Clark learn that this is something he could never do. He was as cocky and gunho as any other kid in that position, and we watch that side of him get tempered into the Superman we know.
The naval training is a little more than half of the full comic; the rest of it is Clark’s adventures in Atlantis (no Aquaman references though). This section reads more like what one would expect from a Superman story. It’s also strange and dreamlike in a lot of ways. Superman ignites a romance with mermaid royalty, and her father, Poseidon himself, wants to keep this from going any further. It takes other stranger and sometimes dark turns, but it’s fun and compelling on the whole.
John Romita Jr. continues to put in some incredible artwork into Superman: Year One with this issue. He constructs masterful panels of moments both subtle and bombastic. We get to see Clark Kent in military fatigues and in his classic suit. Romita Jr. shows why he is so well-respected in the industry here, and he’s backed up by the excellent inking of Danny Miki and color art of Alex Sinclair.
Superman: Year One #2 is a strange yet highly-compelling read. Clark gets to experience the very real process of boot camp training and then a fantastical adventure in Atlantis. As he goes through both, we get to see how he is being shaped into the Man of Steel we know and love. This one gets a recommendation. Feel free to give it a read.
Superman: Year One #2 comes to us from writer Frank Miller, artist John Romita Jr, inker Danny Miki, color artist Alex Sinclair, letterer John Workman, cover artist John Romita Jr. with Danny Miki and Alex Sinclair, and variant cover artist Frank Miller with Alex Sinclair.
Final Score: 8.5/10
[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]