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Superman: Secret Origin #1 [Review]

The Boy of Steel

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Gary Frank
Inker: Jon Sibal
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Steve Wands
Assoc. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Covers: Frank w/ Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics

I don’t know how to describe it, really…but there’s something special just about the look of this issue. The cover’s fantastic–Gary Frank is by far one of my favorite Superman artists. The logo on the gradient-blue sky background stands out very nicely (and yet does not look out of place). This is the first issue of a mini-series…the Secret Origin part tells us we’re going back to the “beginning,” and seeing a young Clark on the cover, happy and with his parents, also both looking happy–speaks volumes to the characters. Perhaps it’s that this really gives credence to that saying about a picture being worth a thousand words–a thousand words to the positive thus hit before one’s even looked inside the issue.

Then again, perhaps it’s none of that, and simply the anticipation for this issue–after it was announced last year, and I thought it would be out by early summer and had to wait these extra months for it, and I just so enjoy finally getting to begin reading a definitive origin for the character since the Byrne stuff was chucked awhile back.

The story begins with Clark playing football in answer to challenge from classmates. Peter Ross breaks his arm tackling Clark, and guilty as Clark feels for that, he’s guilted further by facing Pa (in a scene that somehow put me VERY much in mind of that scene with Peter and Uncle Ben in the Spidey film as Uncle Ben lectures Peter on Responsibility). We see other elements introduced–Lana, and the school, Ma and Pa, Smallville itself, Lex Luthor, to name a few. These all come together as the issue progresses and we see first the discovery and solution to some newly-developed/discovered powers on Clark’s part (and how his parents play a strong role in that) and then the implementing of his powers as disaster strikes Smallville. Finally, we see the development of the costume.

The art–as I said above about the cover–is just fantastic. There’s a detail and realism to the visuals that works so well with the story and getting things across…and yet, it doesn’t feel like it’s being overtly realistic. It just captures a level of detail that makes it easy for the mind to fill in the blanks and set these static images to motion as you read.

For newer readers, this is simply an “origin” story–telling the beginnings and background/motivation to things we’re seeing play out in the current issues of the Superman books.

For long-time readers, it may be much more. This seems set to be THE origin, the definitive story of Superman’s background in the books’ current incarnations. Forget Man of Steel and Byrne…forget Birthright and Waid…for that matter, forget Smallville. This is none of those…and yet, it seems to be quite respectful to them all, acknowledging them subtlely and taking key elements from them as the story requires.

Though I’ve looked forward to this series–and yes, delivered extremely well, meeting (and maybe exceeding) my anticipation/expectation–I remained skeptical. I grew up on the 90s Superman, beginning while the “Byrne revamp” was yet FRESH…and there are several key moments to that interpretation of the character that have been done away with in recent years that I’ve greatly disliked. While this fails to RESTORE them…something about Johns’ crafting of the story puts other things in a light that begins to redeem the changes, making them sit much better with me.

The return of what I consider “silver age elements” is handled nicely, and in a modern way that makes things quite plausible in the present.

I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better opening chapter of this mini.

Even if you’re not following the current New Krypton stuff in the ongoing titles, or any Superman comic at all…this is a book to pick up. The writing, the art, the story as provided by the blending of both…makes for a great read, and I’m already eager for not just the entirety of the story, but to see this thing put into a single volume.

Highly, highly recommended.

Story: 8.5/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 9.5/10

Blackest Night: Superman #2 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Photos From Home #9

Another shelf of books. These are all of my Dragonlance hardcovers, as well as the hardcovers I have of the Harry Potter series. I had a hardcover of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but gave that to my sister a few years back. It was shortly AFTER that that I actually got into the series, and book 5–Order of the Phoenix–was the first I read while only available in hardback. For lack of space on other similar shelves, my two zombie novels share space here. The Zombie Survival Guide, and the excellent World War Z.

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