Superman: Birthright
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Superman: Birthright

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4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  5,990 ratings  ·  207 reviews
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 acc...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published October 2005 by DC Comics (first published September 2003)
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Superman by Mark MillarAll-Star Superman, Vol. 1 by Grant MorrisonAll-Star Superman, Vol. 2 by Grant MorrisonSuperman by Alan MooreKingdom Come by Mark Waid
Best of Superman
7th out of 158 books — 126 voters
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Required Reading Graphic Novels
241st out of 738 books — 1,174 voters


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Community Reviews

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Brad
There is a little over a decade of comic book writing I need to catch up on. I loved comics and collected religiously from my early teens to my mid-twenties, then I drifted away from comics for a long time. Only now, now that my kids are discovering comics, have I found my way back to this world I love so deeply, and now that I am back in comic book land, I get to come to fantastic works I missed out on the first time around. Enter Superman: Birthright.

With the possible exceptions of Batman, Spi...more
Sam Quixote
Wow, where do I start? The short review of this book is: Birthright is the ONLY Superman origin book you need to read, it’s the book Mark Waid was born to write, and it is a true literary masterpiece.

That’s the short version. The longer version that will now follow will read like a firebrand preacher babbling on about the Saviour, etc. because reading this book and being an atheist, I had the same reaction and feelings that I imagine religious people do when they hear stories about Jesus or who...more
Brian
This got 5 stars from me because I generally just don't care about Superman. Thus, like with the novel be Tom DeHaan, "It's Superman!" when a Superman story can interest me to a major degree, it's impressive. Of course, it's hard to tell that from what I've reviewed, but to be fair, All-Star Superman is also widely regarded as a masterpiece of Superman stories.

Birthright does a new origin story and yet isn't boring. The updated Daily Planet, the Smallville-esque way of incorporating Lex into Cla...more
Jonathan

Let me clear all the baggage out of the way in one bold claim: this is the best Superman story I have ever read, period. End of story. Sure, Geoff Johns wrote a pretty solid reimagining of Superman with Superman: Secret Origin and I've been told the Grant Morrison Action Comics, Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel is meant to be grand but I don't care, I've encountered Mark Waid's vision and it is amazing.

For those who are new or have no clue in regard to the world of graphic novels, comic bo...more
Trin
In some ways, what Waid is trying to do with this graphic novel is the exact opposite of what Tom De Haven was attempting in his (prose) novel It’s Superman. That book returns Supes’ origin story back to the 1930s, the era when the character was conceived; Birthright updates it to modern times with things like an internet-savvy Martha Kent and a Lois Lane who’s striving to break stories on The Daily Planet’s blog.

While it did not blow me away quite like It’s Superman, Birthright was still really...more
jjmontreuil
The second-best Superman comic, after Grant Morrison's All-Star version, and in many respects a better choice for readers disinterested in the Superman perceived as old-fashioned and associated with decades of impenetrable (& frequently nonsensical) continuity. Birthright is a sleek, smart update, paying due respect to the important tropes without being strangled by them.

Waid's writing deftly handles the cast, with standouts being his sympathetic depiction of Lex Luthor and his "special-nee...more
Wendy Browne
I'm trying really hard to raise this review to three stars, but I can't. I just don't like Superman and for all of Birthright's efforts to make the kryptonian more human, I still don't like him. So be prepared for a fully biased character unappreciation post, thinly disguised as a review!

This is a retelling of Superman's origin story, updated to suit our modern times. It opens with the destruction of Krypton and baby Kal'El's parents' difficult decision to risk shipping him off to who knows wher...more
Amanda
I just read Superman: Birthright for the first time. It is the new origin story of the Man of Steel. As I wrote previously, I am new to graphic novels. I know the basic story of Superman, and from what I understand it is not much different, but it is has been modernized. Small details bring it up to date. Clark Kent works for a newspaper which, as we know, is becoming obsolete in our instant media society. When Clark went to work for the Daily Planet, there was discussion of their online news re...more
Sarah
Hands down the best Superman story I've ever read. This series cum graphic novel beautifully captures the complexities that can exist in a stalwart character like Superman, while still having fun with the standards of his mythos (primarily his relationship with his parents, his friend vs. foe constantly changing history with Lex Luthor, his nerdiness as Clark Kent, etc.). There's a lot to Superman as a pop culture icon and as a character, and in this reboot of the comic, Mark Waid and artist Lei...more
John Yelverton
I really didn't know how to take this book when I first read it, but I definitely felt that it wasn't true to Superman.
Kenny
I grew up reading Superman. I loved his stories of truth and honesty and goodness. In “Superman Birthright” we have a story worthy of Superman's greatness. There are some truly great Superman choices out there these days, but for me, 'Birthright is one of the best. It's a must read story if you love Superman. It's a must read story if you want to learn about Superman. And, last but certainly not least, it's a must read story if you just want to read a terrific tale. It's gripping, beautiful and...more
CuriousLibrarian
I really loved this book. My father has always been a major Superman fan, so I saw a lot of Superman stuff growing up. Superman as portrayed in this book reminded me quite a bit of the old TV shows from my father's childhood that we watched endlessly on VHS during my own. And I haven't seen that iteration of Superman in a long time.

This book is very much an exploration of the relationships in Clark's life. Coming into manhood, relating to the Kents, his feelings about his past both here on Eart...more
Rod Hilton
Had a really tough time getting into this. With the first two issues having Clark, pre-Superman, sort of traveling the world and helping people, I was worried the entire series was going to be like that and I was bored with it. However, at issue 3 he comes back to Smallville and a more traditional origin is told. I know it's annoying to be like "give me what I like over and over" but Clark alone isn't a terribly engaging character, and nobody else in the first two issues had much character so I...more
Sunil
Aug 10, 2013 Sunil rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own, 2013
Some people don't like origin stories. Apparently, I just can't seem to get enough of them, as I enjoy the various retellings of superhero origin stories, each new writer putting an interesting spin on an old idea. With Superman: Birthright, Mark Waid chips away at my belief that I don't care about Superman—or maybe I only care about him when such talents as Grant Morrison, Kurt Busiek, and now Mark Waid write him. Waid has clearly thought about Superman, Clark Kent, and the whole mythos, and he...more
Chris
Superman: Birthright is one of these slow burns that have become so popular with origin stories these days… the actual Superman costume doesn’t appear until around 50 pages in, which for some, I think, will be a dealbreaker as to whether or not they enjoy the collection as a whole. I don’t have a problem with this kind of decompressed storytelling so long as its done well... my problem is that it's rarely done well. I don't read a ton of genre comics lately, but those that i do are practically p...more
Nicholas
A good story that resonates with the Superman Returns film. All of the adventure and fun of a superman story are present, but I just didn't like the characterization very much. Clark seems a little cocky and arrogant. Confident in his powers and his ability to just change the world. To me, Superman is by nature a brooding and solitary figure who is struggling just to fit in. I didn't like all the side-panel smirks he was giving people who said ironic things about his identity every four or five...more
Rebecca
This is the current interpretation of Superman's origin story, and it incorporates elements from Smallville (namely, Lex and Clark having a history in the small town), but does a much better job. The story begins with a short prologue, the surprisingly moving scene where Jor-El and Lara, Kal-El's birth parents, send him away from the doomed planet on the prayer that he will find a hospitable planet to survive in. From there the story jumps 25 years to Ghana, where the (handsome) young man Clark...more
Michael
This was pretty good. The bit in Africa explains what inspires Clark Kent and why he eventually decides to become superman and it makes sense.

The bit where the kents are coming up with with superman's costume and disguise while also dealing with mixed emotions about letting go of their only adopted son who's now grown up.

Lois lane is very well characterised and I can see why Clark Kent really likes her and so is the rest of the daily planet staff.

Lex Luthor is characterised much like the the o...more
Anne
This was what I was hoping for from Superman for All Seasons, but didn't quite get. One reason Birthright was such a good retelling of Superman's origin, was that it made his story much more modern and relevant. And it did this without changing the core of his story or personality.
Johnathan and Martha Kent helping Clark come up with his disguise was definitely one of my favorite parts of this book! Also, you can really see why Clark falls so hard for Lois in this one. Awwww! I'm such a sucker fo...more
Craig
This started out really strong, with Clark Kent in Africa, interacting with a charismatic rebel leader. If this had been developed further, it might have really turned into something special. As it is, it's yet another re-imagining of Superman's origin and too much time is spent with the egotistical Lex Luthor and his petty attempts to make Superman look bad so he can swoop in and save Metropolis from the imagined threat. How many times has that basic story been re-used? The artwork by Leinil Yu...more
Federiken Masters
Mar 05, 2010 Federiken Masters rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Casi nadie.
Recommended to Federiken by: El enemigo.
Leído en la edición de 12 números que sacó Sticker Design en Argentina. Una historia muy pero muy tonta, infantiloide y "smallvillesca" hasta el ridículo, que zafa de quedar zapatera sólo por el espectacular dibujo de Yu. Creo que el colmo de la ridiculez llega con la araña gigante que aparece cerca del número 9, que parece aquella de la que se burlaba Kevin Smith cuando le pidieron el guión para "Superman Lives". Si algún día me animo a releerla, quizás se gane una reseña un poco más prolija y...more
Bronson Mach
The reason I decided to read this was because I heard it was one of the best superman novels and I love superman, so it sounds like a great deal. But I feel this novel was really good but the best.

Mark Waid is a great writer and he did an excellent job with Kingdom Come but this story is a little lacking in comparison. I like to consider this novel a very glorified superman origins. This is not the new 52 orignis but the pre 52 origins. If you like superman's origins and would like get the most...more
Amy
I debated with myself about if I should place this book on my re-imaginings shelf but in the end decided against it. While this is a bit of a different take on the beginnings of Superman there are so many others because every writer has a different spin for the origin stories of their favourite superhero. This is simply setting the Superman origin in a more modern setting, which is done and done beautifully.

Before going much further in this review I have a confession to make. I have watched ever...more
Roewoof
I'm trying to think of the best way to start this review.

Ok, let's start with the art. At first, I was unsure whether I liked the art or not. The characters weren't handsome or classically beautiful, and sometimes their features seemed to make them downright ugly. Yet, I found myself looking at the way the faces were drawn for several minutes before moving on to the next panel. Then I realized that the drawings themselves were interesting. I wanted to keep looking at them, not just as a whole p...more
Craig Williams
The entire time I read this book, my constant thought was, "Why wasn't THIS the Superman reboot???" The book was written and laid out like a feature film, with title credits in between the panels and no chapter breaks (which normally annoy me but felt appropriate for the cinematic tone). This is probably one of the best year one Superman story this side of A Superman for All Seasons. Mark Waid does an excellent job of legitimizing some of the sillier tropes of the Superman mythos, such as how th...more
Katherine Stapp
There's a guy I follow on tumblr who really really likes Superman. I've never been into it, but his posts about how great Superman is inspired me to give it a try... this is the first of his recommendations. I enjoyed it, a modern re-imagining of the character... I really loved his mom Martha being a tech-savvy alien searcher lady. I didn't get the daddy issues.

I most liked the beginning, where Clark is a freelance journalist sadly wandering around and losing friends when they find out about hi...more
Mambabasang Miong
Superman: Birthright is an excellent origin story. If you get the impulse to know how exactly Supes started, then this is the only comic book you need. The subplots on the other hand are just ordinary. It touches on so many points of Clark's life that it doesn't really go deep on most of them.

Birthright's story started strong. The Africa story is a heartfelt and a convincing anecdote in Kent's life to don the red cape (and underwear) and carry the great moral responsibility. After that, the Cla...more
Josh
Apr 16, 2014 Josh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
Wow. It turns out I really like the concept of Superman...when it's well done, of course. Waid has spun a great tale with strong characters and emotional depth with a complex villain. Yu's art is just phenomenal. My only tiny nerd qualm with the visuals would be the moment that Superman catches Lois by the backs of her shoulders after a free fall. As Spider-Man learned with Gwen Stacey, that would cause some gnarly whiplash at the very least, but Lois has neck flexors of steel, since she maintai...more
Bria
It never really occurred to me to be all that interested in Superman, because I never knew before this that it could be at all believable.
Heather V
I can't fault Mark Waid; I just don't think I'm ever gonna be a Superman fan.
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Mark Waid (born March 21, 1962 in Hueytown, Alabama) is an American comic book writer. He is best known for his eight-year run as writer of the DC Comics' title The Flash, as well as his scripting of the limited series Kingdom Come and Superman: Birthright, and his work on Marvel Comics' Captain America.
More about Mark Waid...
Kingdom Come JLA, Vol. 7: Tower of Babel Daredevil, Volume 1 Irredeemable, Vol. 1 JLA: Year One

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