Superman: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns

Title: Superman: Secret Origin
Writer(s): Goeff Johns.
Penciller(s): Gary Frank.
Inker(s): Jon Sibal.
Colourist(s): Brad Anderson.
Letterer(s): Steve Wands.
PublisherDC Comics.

: Hardcover – Deluxe edition.
Release Date: December 10th 2019 (first published 2009).
Pages: 240.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401295165.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


There are some stories that you seem to know before you’re even born. Whether it’s the story of a little girl in her red cape facing a big bad wolf or a little lost boy who just doesn’t grow up, there’s always a fascinating array of stories that are shared from one generation to another. Take for example that one story of a human-looking alien crash-landing on Earth only to be taken in by an utterly friendly Kansas couple. Now that’s a story about truth, justice, and the American way. A story about immigration, acceptance, and heroism. A story that makes you root for a hero that will one day become every person’s symbol of hope. While every story-teller doesn’t tell this story the same way, it remains a story that will always capture the heart and soul of this superhero. With legendary writer Geoff Johns teamed up with sensational artist Gary Frank, they revisit the origins of Superman for a new generation of readers without failing to cover every angle along the way.

What is Superman: Secret Origin about? As the last son of a dying planet, the soon-to-be-baptized Clark Joseph Kent crash lands into the life of Ma and Pa Kent where he will be given the opportunity to learn to live a secret yet completely normal life without knowledge of the extent of his powers. As he grows up, he quickly learns about the injustice in the world and how he could become the Man of Tomorrow, a hero who utilizes his powers for the greater good, to ultimately protect the people he loves and the world he calls home. His life only truly takes off once he moves to Metropolis and meets his eternal friends, eventual soulmate, and immortal archnemesis. This is when he learns to embrace his superhero persona and become the guardian of Metropolis.

“You are. All of you are. I do what I do because I was given a gift, but all of you were given gifts, too. Use them to make each other’s lives better. Show the world that Metropolis has a heart.”

— Geoff Johns

With an introduction by David S. Goyer, this graphic novel collects all six issues of the miniseries. It starts off by introducing the Man of Steel as a kid who has yet to know what he is capable of and who doesn’t know how to control his powers during emotionally trying times. It then explores his character during his teenage years as he truly embraces his first trials of love and heroism. It then ends on a chapter of his life where he moves out of Smallville, Kansas, to discover Metropolis and begin a new chapter in his life as both a news reporter and as Superman. While writer Geoff Johns does a remarkable job in remaining loyal to Clark Kent’s growth, experience, and personality, he jampacks this graphic novel with an overwhelming amount of lore, making it near-impossible to fully appreciate Superman’s origin story as one would through multiple stories. Covering his childhood, teenage years, and adulthood in just one tale is no easy feat for anyone, especially when you’re trying to shoehorn as many characters known in Superman’s circle, from Lois Lane to Lex Luthor, but it remains a fairly accessible and insightful look at his life through the years.

Although writer Geoff Johns could always carry the weight of excellence on his shoulders alone, he shares the burden with artist Gary Frank who indubitably succeeds in magnificently portraying the characters from Clark Kent’s life. With the exception of teenage Clark Kent, whose facial designs made it hard to take seriously, his character designs are impeccable, especially once he gets around to his adult characters. There is also simply nothing more iconic than his artistic vision for Superman once he’s in his suit, off to save lives and pave the way towards happiness and heroism. Add in inker Jon Sibal and colourist Brad Anderson’s work that effortlessly brings out the vibrant colours associated with Superman’s lore and you have a visually stunning graphic novel that explores the early days of Superman, highlighting the reasons that bring him to become the hero Metropolis never knew they needed.

Superman: Secret Origin is an ambitious yet accessible origin story exploring the Man of Steel’s transformation from childhood to adulthood.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!



19 thoughts on “Superman: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns

  1. Sounds like Superman: American Alien by Max Landis that I loved. It had seven short stories about him growing up from a child to his early years in Metropolis, so I might give this one a try too.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for the actors name. I went and looked him up. His face is pretty good. Reminds of the guy who did Supes in the 90’s in the tv show Lois & Clarke.

        But his neck?!? Even Reeve’s neck was bigger. Sigh. I don’t expect every actor to be up to Cavill standards but come on, even the 1940’s animated character was the personification of manly toughness. Give poor Tyler some neck implants or something 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this when it first came out and initially wasn’t all that enthralled but on subsequent re-reads I’ve actually come to love it quite a bit! I think the flaw you cite was perhaps why it didn’t click with me more on the first read in that it’s jam packed with characters and Superman lore (something that the Brian Michael Bendis run admittedly suffered from towards the end).

    The art by Gary Frank is brilliant and with Johns’ writing it’s very reminiscent of Superman: The Movie, great review as ever my good man I always love your opening paragraphs, you have a knack for ‘setting the scene’ that makes all of your review enjoyable and accessible!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think I’ll feel the same about upon subsequent re-reads, like you, too. It’s not so bad after all. New readers will learn A LOT from reading just this story, that’s for sure. It just feels like a lot happens too fast to really grasp the extent of his growth. As if Superman’s life is just huge events after huge events, whether it’s his first kiss or his first public appearance as Superman.

      Thanks for your kind words, my friend! On my end, nothing beats the quality of your reviews! 😛 Is it just me or it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed something you’ve READ??? Share something soon, my friend! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like it might be a good place for younger generations to start off. It’s interesting comparing the look and feel of older comics with these newer ones with their super bright paper and bold colors.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely. No one could go wrong with this story as an entry point into Superman’s life. As for the quality, I totally understand hahaha I’m glad that they actually pay attention to the material and quality of comics nowadays, considering how collectors want to preserve their books for as long as possible. 😀


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