Thursday, September 24, 2009

Review: "Superman: Secret Origin"

Geoff Johns. The DCU Master Storyteller who has resurrected numerous characters without expolding most of the landmines involved with retroactive continuity.

Gary Franks. One of the best artists in comics today, and one of my favorites since "Midnight Nation" almost 10 years ago.

They knocked Action Comics out of the park over the last couple of years. What could go wrong with this re-telling of the humble beginnings of the Man of Steel?

Sadly, quite a bit.

Nevermind that when I personally think of the "true" origin of Superman I go back to the John Byrne relaunch following Crisis on Infinite Earths. Nevermind the fact that Mark Waid's "Birthright" series was only 5-6 years ago. I went into the first issue of "Secret Origin" with an open mind, excited to see what these creators could do, and I finished the issue saddened.

Writing: Not only was the story unoriginal, but because of the fact that Johns is writing for the show, and all of the properties are under the same corporate umbrella, I think that DC Comics is trying to make "Smallville" canon. So much so, I honestly expected a Chloe Sullivan cameo to happen before the book ended. Guess did.

Clark breaks Pete Ross' arm. Clark discovers that his heat vision is triggered by sexual arousal. Lana Lang is a whiny, self-centered twit. All "Smallville" staples.

Lex Luthor is once again somehow a resident of Smallville. After being written out of the city's history in Byrne's Man of Steel, and then being re-injected as a Clark Kent peer by Waid, Geoff Johns introduces us to a Lex Luthor who is older than Clark, a basement scientist and conspiracy theorist, and who finds a chunk of Kryptonite out in the field after running away from his drunk father. Also, Lex has a sister?

By the time the issue is over, Lex hates Clark for the dumbest reason ever, flight has been established, and Lil' Clark is suited up. We're told to expect the Legion in the next issue.

I guess settling the lawsuit over "Superboy" has opened the floodgates for these storylines to come back.

Art: I was really happy when Franks took over Action Comics and began to draw Clark Kent/Superman to resemble Christopher Reeve (pictured left). I thought that was an inspired and iconic touch and I applauded it. That trend is maintained in "Secret Origin" except that Franks seems to have caught whatever bug plagues John Byrne, and is drawing everyone that way. Also, Teenage Clark looks 35.

Overall: I give it 2 "Mehs" and a "Whatever." Why fix things that aren't broken?

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