Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Superman: Secret Origin - Geoff Johns

Despite the title, there's not really much that's new in SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN, a hardback reprinting of a mini-series from several years ago, before DC's latest reboot. For a curmudgeonly old purist like me, that's not a bad thing. Instead, this story is a retelling/slight expansion of the basic Superman mythos we've all known for many, many years (some of us for longer than we like to think about). Writer Geoff Johns has taken elements from several different incarnations of the Man of Steel, thrown them together with a little influence from the SMALLVILLE TV series, rearranged a few things, most notably the introductions of supervillains The Parasite and Metallo, and produced a comfortably familiar tale that has a lot of nostalgic appeal to it.

The script by Johns strikes the right notes for the most part, capturing the personalities of Clark Kent/Superman and the rest of the supporting cast and moving the action along at a nice pace. The artwork by Gary Frank (pencils) and Jon Sibal (inks) is excellent with its crisp look and old-style storytelling. It really fits this sort of yarn.

While I've been primarily a Marvel fan for the past fifty years, I've read and enjoyed many, many DC comics during that time, too, especially during the Sixties and Seventies. I still enjoy reading reprints of the best work from those eras, and from time to time I try out some of the newer stuff, too, and enjoy a lot of it. SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN definitely falls into that category. I had a fine time reading it, and if you're a comics fan, you should check it out.


Scott D. Parker said...

For your Superman fix, I highly recommended Superman: For All Seasons. And the Grant Morrison 12-issue series All-Star Superman. The latter has been made into an animated feature, so you can catch that if you cannot find the book.

As to other DC titles, the New 52 version of "Batman," (that is, the book with that title) is quite good. Makes you see Gotham in a whole new light. And Johns has rehabilitated Aquaman and write Justice League for the New 52. I enjoy both and both should be in trades by now.

James Reasoner said...

I've read SUPERMAN: FOR ALL SEASONS and thought I'd blogged about it, but evidently I haven't. I liked it quite a bit, as I've liked nearly all the collaborations between Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. I tried to read the first collected volume of ALL-STAR SUPERMAN but didn't care for it for some reason. Morrison's work is hit or miss for me, love some of it, can't finish some of it. I've pretty much boycotted the New 52 stuff because I feel like DC has rebooted to death, but I've heard other positive things about Johns' version of AQUAMAN and will probably give it a try, along with the JLA.

Scott D. Parker said...

Morrison is best enjoyed in trades when you can read all the issues together. I can't image doing it with a month in between.

There is a passage early on in JL #1 that really hooked me. It's when Green Lantern meets Batman for the first time. All the heroes are learning about each other. It goes something like this:

GL: So, can you fly?
B: No.
GL: So, can you "see" things in the dark?
B: No.
GL: [confused] Wait, are you just a guy dressed up in a bat suit.
B: [no comment] [And then he swipes GL's power ring off his finger.]

Scott D. Parker said...

Oh, the interview Johns gave to Kevin Smith on Smith's Fat Man on Batman podcast is also great and gives a history of how Johns got to where he is now.