Monday, 5 October 2009

Superman: Secret Origin #1 - One of the most important Superman comic books of all time

Why is Superman Secret Origin #1 one of the most important Superman comics ever? Please read on for my thoughts and be sure to comment after and let me know what you think of this article and the comic itself.

With his work on Action Comics, writer Geoff Johns made the Man of Steel feel human again, which is a big deal for me as a reader as Superman can seem so ‘Super’ at times it can be hard to relate. The character work he did captured both Superman & Clark brilliantly (especially his relationship with his father), and that is why Johns Superman work contain some of my favorite comic book stories ever.

Gary Frank who did the pencils for the majority of John’s Action Comics run emphasized Superman’s human side and drew Superman very much like the Christopher Reeve incarnation from the motion pictures, which being a huge fan of those films, really made me connect with the story a little more as the stories really felt like the Superman I knew and love, mine and my generation’s Superman. In my opinion he is the best Superman artist I have ever seen, so who better to create this book along with one of the best Superman writers?

This mini series; Superman: Secret Origin was highly anticipated by myself, other fans and critics alike, while a lot of people have mentioned that we all know Superman’s origin as the last son of Krypton, I don’t know much about his time in Smallville and I feel a lot of today’s younger comic readers might not either. I have never read any of the old Superboy or Legion of Superhero comics of Clarks days growing up in Smallville (I know there is the TV show, but I’m not a fan, comics is my superhero medium of choice), or any other comics of Superman’s early adventures as to be honest a lot of them were written many years ago (decades even) and I find that material extremely hard to read as it is far too… dare I say it; ‘corny’. Those stories were written for their time which is fine, but we are in a new century now, the times and writing styles have changed. Why is Superman the biggest superhero in the world? Well the great thing about this comic is it makes Superman important again TODAY, for a new generation of readers.

The young Clark in this series feels more human to me as a character than ever, I mean the first page drags you straight into Clark’s headspace at the time of the story by asking the biggest question in the universe; “Why are we here?” It’s a question everyone can relate to and has asked themselves at some point. Clark in this story is in a difficult period of his life. He is just about starting puberty, is getting interested in girls, and has to deal with everyday life at school and the strange powers that begin to appear. In this issue we see Clark’s strength accidently causes a friend to break his arm while playing football, and his heat vision nearly burns down the school when he has his first kiss with Lana. On top of all these problems (some more normal than other’s) Clark then discovers his true origin and the fact that he is not only adopted but an alien from another planet that has now been destroyed (again I’m sure we can all relate to feeling different growing up, maybe not this different but hopefully you get my point). This is a lot for any kid to take, and the emotion from Clark is conveyed masterfully by Johns and Frank.
There is a scene where just after Clark learns about his true origins, he runs away into the fields of his parent’s farm utterly devastated. After Clark stumbles Pa Kent catches up with him and they embrace. Clark is scared and tells his Pa that he doesn't want to be different and that "I want to be Clark Kent. I want to be your son." to which Pa Kent responds "Clark…you are my son." It’s a really beautiful moment and I literally had a lump in my throat. It’s drawn from a birds eye view which reminded me of the funeral scenes for Pa Kent at the start of ‘New Krypton’ some months back, also beautifully drawn my Frank. Geoff Johns conveys to his reader that Jonathon Kent really is Clark’s hero and a lot of what makes Clark ‘Superman’ is drawn from Jonathon’s influence and his special relationship with his son, and that’s why I really look forward to more of this issue. That’s why this origin story will be different; it will be remembered for the great relationships John’s has further explored with the characters. And even after only one issue, I feel it will gone on to be one of THE classic Superman stories that will be referred back to and enjoyed for years to come, I believe in the artistic team and their grasp of the main character that much. Johns & Frank are telling the tale of the farmer’s boy from Smallville who grew into Superman, the greatest superhero in the world, showing how his loved ones guideded him on his journey and helped mould him into the hero and icon he is today.

Thats why I belive Superman: Secret Origin #1 is one of the most important Superman comic books of all time. So what do you guys think?


  1. You read my review, lol. I couldn't agree with you more on this one.

  2. I just re-read your review, seems we picked up on a lot of the same stuff didnt we, great minds do think alike!