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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Examines issues of immigration, racial prejudice, unregulated scientific research. Clark also grapples with question of whether he should use his superpowers to intervene in dangerous situations.
Immigrants should be treated with respect and compassion. Hiding your talents from your friends and family may be counterproductive.
Positive Role Models
Clark Kent believes in truth, justice, and the American Way, as long as the American Way respects rule of law. He's devoted to his parents and is a hard worker, a stalwart friend, and the first to run to save an innocent person in a dangerous situation.
Violence & Scariness
Clark tussles with various villains who try to beat him up or even shoot at him. A gang of toughs beats up an immigrant. Clark's super-breath causes an attacker's hand to freeze.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Clark and Lana enjoy a platonic, though slightly flirty, relationship. Clark has a crush on a waitress named Gloria, and they share a couple of kisses.
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Stronger language than one might expect. Up to two dozen uses of "s--t," with a handful of "d--k," "a--hole," "hell," "goddamn," and "damn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Underage teens seem to be drinking alcohol at a party. A supporting character injects a performance drug.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Matt de la Peña's Superman: Dawnbreaker tells a story of Clark Kent's teen years in Smallville. There's violence, though mostly bloodless. Fight scenes include characters using their fists, firearms, and other weaponry. There's more strong language than some readers might expect: "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "a--hole," and many instances of "s--t." There's mild flirting and one prolonged kiss. One party scene seems to depict underage drinking.
Is It Any Good?
It's tempting to make main characters too good to be true, but this surprising tale of an iconic American superhero gives Clark Kent some interestingly rough edges. He may seem like a Goody Two-Shoes for much of Superman: Dawnbreaker, but when he gets riled by injustice, watch out! Author Matt de la Peña captures the essence of the teen Superman, making his optimism and compassion understandable and exciting.
The immigration subplot is timely, if laid on a little thick. The supporting cast is varied and well-defined, and the usual villain, Lex Luthor, is a more ambiguous figure this time. A lot happens to Clark in only a few days, and there are plenty of twists and surprises in the plot. Comics fans are likely to enjoy the in-depth portraits that prose allows and will see an iconic character from a different perspective.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.