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Smallville's Biggest Gift to Metropolis (Superman: Secret Origin Review)


Writer: Geoff Johns

Artist: Gary Frank

Inker: Jon Sibal

Colorist: Brad Anderson

Letterer: Steve Wands

Publisher: DC

Rating: 9/10 Daily Planet Papers

Right out of the gate, I’m going to let you know why Superman: Secret Origin is an essential read for any superhero comic fan. One, it’s written by Geoff Johns. Two, it’s Superman! Of the number of Superman books that have made their way into my collection, this one always makes the list as one of my top reads. Let this review be a break down of what makes it so special of a series. Super spoilers are soaring in!

Johns’ gives us his take on the Superman origin with the help of one of his best partners in the biz, Gary Frank. These two have done some amazing stuff together that I have read, from SHAZAM, Doomsday Clock, and even Superman and the Legion of Superheroes. Secret Origin is put into two parts. The first part starts off with Clark at an early age of what appears to be his teens. While it’s shown that he has demonstrated some of his “gifts” earlier on with Lana and his parents, we see him begin the development of some of his more iconic ones (heat vision/x-ray vision). Clark’s biggest challenge that he faces in this portion is himself and his fear of being different as well as scared of who he is. Thankfully, he is nurtured and encouraged to use his gifts for good by his family. Thanks to some visitors from another time, he sees what a difference he can make. While he gains both of these great foundations, he also knows that who he is must be kept secret and sometimes that can require sacrifice to keep those he cares about safe. Johns’ balances this section nicely with Clark’s struggles to maintain as a member of society while also finding his calling.

With all of the teenage angst and struggle to find his purpose out of the way, Johns’ finally takes Clark to the City of Tomorrow, Metropolis in the second part of his story. Here we have the classic Clark Kent persona we all know and have to love. Clumsy, awkward, kind of meek, and always having an embarrassing excuse to bail out right when Superman shows up. It’s not too long into his first day at the Daily Planet and Clark is at a Lex Luthor rally where he is forced to reveal himself as Superman to the world. The story quickly becomes an action-packed read as an angry Lex seeks to find any method he can to take down Superman by throwing parasitic and robotic men at him. Despite having good intentions, Johns’ doesn’t go easy on Superman when showing us that Clark can hear the responses to his debut, the good and the bad. It’s ultimately the jealously of Lex Luthor who manages to fail to stop the Man of Steel and turn the general public opinion in Superman’s favor.

Listen chief, I’m no reporter, but I can tell you that with Superman: Secret Origin, you’ve got something really special here. Johns’ delivers another super read that’s tones and story will challenge not only the character but the reader as well before shining that hopeful message through at the end. Gary Frank brings this story to life with an amazing range of emotions displayed on the panels with his characters, as well as great detail into the backgrounds also. This read will surely have you looking up in the sky for Superman after you finish it.

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