Title: Superman: Secret Origin
Writer(s): Goeff Johns.
Penciller(s): Gary Frank.
Inker(s): Jon Sibal.
Colourist(s): Brad Anderson.
Letterer(s): Steve Wands.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe edition.
Release Date: December 10th 2019 (first published 2009).
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating:
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.