Thursday, October 29, 2009

Comic Book Review: Superman Secret Origin #2

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank and Jon Sibal
Covers by Gary Frank

Plot: The second installment of Writer Geoff Johns’ retelling of the Superman origin story brings us the initial meeting of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Clark Kent begins his journey as the world’s greatest super hero by exploring and utilizing his powers which come as a blessing and as a curse. But with the support of his adopted parents and the help of the Legion of Super-Heroes (much to the dismay of Brainiac 5), Superboy (later known as Superman) discovers the incredible influence he will have on the world.

Back in the present, Lex Luthor begins his journey as well…

My Thoughts: Not having a real in-depth knowledge of the Legion of Super-Heroes, I came into this issue wondering if I would come to any new realizations of Superman and his relationship with the futuristic Super-Hero team. Thankfully, I do!

From what I recall, the Silver Age tale shows Clark Kent having to prove himself to the future and to the Legion as a worthy adversary and cunning hero. Here, Johns shows Clark Kent more as an outcast and making the meeting of the Legion a dream come true. I think we, who have felt like outcasts, can relate to this story where Superboy feels secluded because of how different he feels, to suddenly finds himself in the company of people that are like him. I think this effectively depicts Clark’s developmental years in a much more human and sympathetic light.

What I found most intriguing was Johns reasoning behind Clark’s “nerdiness.” In issue one, we find Clark playing football with some friends which results in Clark severely injuring one of them. We can assume that this leads to Clark’s fear of hurting more people as years roll on, where he makes excuses of why he doesn’t want to play with his friends. In this issue we see evidence of that where Clark uses his super-hearing to eaves-drop on fellow students making fun of him and his excuses…

“He doesn’t want to get shoved to the ground, the kids afraid of getting hurt.”
“You ever notice he how he jumps out of people ways, like he doesn’t dare bump into them?”
“He’s afraid of everything, especially girls.”

Along with this, we find his timid nature towards Lana Lang who obviously wants nothing more than to be with Clark, but he resists her out of fear. Clark is experiencing one of the more common, yet underestimated human realizations, fear of one’s self. Clark, even though he is using his powers on a daily basis and learning to harness them, he still does not quite understand what is happening to him and fears what he is capable of and who he could hurt. Unfortunately, to Clark this means refusing Lana’s affection and out casting himself from “normal” social privileges and desires.

In addition, we learn a lot about Clark and his relationship with his adoptive parents in relation to Luthor’s father. The twisted and dark way Luthor praises the fact that his father died is terrifyingly menacing. It will be interesting to see how Johns uses this to further the plot and how it ties into the remaining four issues.

Concerning the art, Gary Frank received a lot of criticism for using Christopher Reeves as inspiration for his Superman. And as I can see the critics point, I disagree that it’s been ineffective. Gary Frank does an excellent job at making Reeves very young looking and age appropriate. I also love how expressive he makes all his characters. I would love to see Frank go back to the regular Superman title as I find his artwork most worthy for it.

Overall: A near perfect issue. I had an exceptional amount of trouble looking for flaws and inconsistencies, but was unable to. I think Johns is being very careful in how he tackles this title as well as Gary Frank. I even TRIED to find flaws but honestly couldn’t. I’m excited to see how this title might tie in with Superman: World of New Krypton and/or Blackest Night.

5 out of 5 stars!!

Next Month: Superman Secret Origin #3
So long, Smallville; hello, Metropolis! Join Geoff Johns and Gary Frank as they explore a very different Metropolis from the one we currently know – one that has yet to experience life with Superman as its protector. Witness the transformative power one person can have on a city as young Clark Kent joins The Daily Planet, and Superman takes to the skies and gives everyone a reason to look up. Over the years, Superman has come to mean everything to Metropolis, but be here to learn why Metropolis means everything to Superman!

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