Following books son Wonder Woman, Batman, and Catwoman, the DC Icons line of Novels has finally introduced the Man of Steel in Superman: Dawnbreaker.
The young adult novel, written by Matt de la Peña (Last Stop on Market Street), attempts to take a modern look at Clark Kent before he decides to become Superman. Does it succeed?
- Written by Matt de la Peña
- Release date – March 5, 2019
- Length – 336 pages (hardcover), 449 minutes (audio book)
- Buy on Amazon – available as hardcover, paperback, digital, and audio book
Synopsis from Penguin Random House:
When the dawn breaks, a hero rises.
Clark Kent has always been faster, stronger–better–than everyone around him. But it’s not like he’s earned his powers . . . yet. Lately it’s difficult to hold back and keep his heroics in the shadows. When Clark follows the sound of a girl crying, he comes across Gloria Alvarez and learns that people are disappearing from the Mexican-American and undocumented worker community in Smallville. Teaming up with his best friend, Lana Lang, Clark discovers that before he can save the world, he must save Smallville.
Superman: Dawnbreaker is a recommended introduction for teenagers who want to learn the origin of Superman. It touches on a Clark Kent dealing with normal high school struggles who also is developing an increasing number of superhuman powers.
Interest may vary from older Superman fans who have read and seen numerous origins in different media. While the book doesn’t introduce anything massive to the character’s mythology, it doesn’t have to. It is an entertaining read that is faithful to the character’s history.
Comparisons to the Smallville television series will ultimately come up. Fans of that series will likely enjoy this, especially if you are a fan of Clark Kent and Lana Lang’s friendship. Clark’s relationship with his parents. Jonathan and Martha, is also explored.
Clark Kent is well done in the novel. He is conflicted at times, but you can see the development of the world’s greatest superhero. The writing by de la Peña balances character work and story with action. There is not a dull chapter as Clark works out his powers and how to best use them.
The characters are well done, with no cookie-cutter characters included. The story has a solid mystery that helps to develop skills Clark will need to be an investigative reporter.
Superman: Dawnbreaker is a young adult novel, and as such, does have the requisite teen angst, romance, and sometimes on-the-nose political references. For the most part, these are well done and don’t distract from the characters and main story.
While the novel is meant to be accessible to people who might not know anything about the Last Son of Krypton, it can still be a good read if you are already a Superman fan. While you may know where certain parts of the story are heading, it is executed well enough that it shouldn’t matter.
There are also a few original characters included that add some unpredictability to the story.
Several characters and elements of Superman’s lore are introduced throughout the book. They are generally done in a manner that is accurate to the source material with several Easter eggs to the greater mythology. If you are sick of the numerous origins of Superman from this century, this book might not be for you. If you enjoy all of those origins, this is a worthy addition to the group.
It should be noted that I listened to the audio version of the book. The voice performance by Andrew Eiden was very good and I have no complaints with this version. It comes in at just under 7.5 hours of audio.
Superman: Dawnbreaker is a solid introduction to Clark Kent for young readers. It is also an enjoyable novel for Superman and Smallville fans of all ages.
Disclosure: The views expressed in the review above are my own based on a purchased copy of the item. If you purchase a copy through the links to Amazon, this site will receive compensation at no extra cost to you.