Buy Now!

Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Superman: Secret Identity #3

Superman: Secret Identity #3 [of 4]

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 17, 2004

Cover date: May 2004

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Stuart Immonen

Reviewed by: Jason Larouche

A decade has passed, and Lois and Clark are now married. While Lois is in Tokyo doing her job as a globe-trotting environmental designer, Clark, now a best selling author, is overseeing their dreamhouse being built off the coast of Maine. Strangely, Clark recieves a Superman-related birthday card from Lois, but it's nowhere near his birthday. After shrugging a lame joke from the contractor, Clark secretly changes into Superman and uses his usual escape route: a tunnel dug through a hollow tree that leads straight to the ocean. Flying to the surface, he streaks towards Africa to complete another of his deliveries of Red Cross supplies. Upon completion, he nearly gets into a dogfight with passing fighter jets.

A month later, the house is finished just in time for Lois' return home. After a blissful reuinion in the bedroom, Lois reveals the big surprise behind the birthday card: she's pregnant. While at first Clark is ecstatic about becoming a father, he later becomes concerned about whether he/she will have the same powers as him or if he/she will become another of the government's targets like he is.

Time passes, as Lois begins to show, Clark tries to get his blood tested, the couple get settled in lamaze classes, and an ultrasound reveals that it's not one baby they're having, but two! This only makes Clark worry more, day and night, about what to do regarding the government and what had happened ten years ago when they captured him. After a talk with Lois, Clark decides it is time to have words with them. As a precaution prior to leaving, he alters his appearance slightly with cotton in his cheeks, different colored contacts, and so on.

As Superman, he deliberately flies into one of their traps at Hoover Dam. Brought down by a modified version of that electrical weapon that brought him down years before, Superman manages to disable the soldiers with heat vision, as well as a recording satellite in orbit, and confronts the head agent in charge, Malloy. He explains he wanted this to happen so that he could reason with Malloy because he wants to make a deal: He will offer his services to the government ONLY IF they abandon their pursuit. But when Malloy asks why the sudden change of heart, Clark flinches, which tips off a trigger-happy soldier who misinterprets it as an attack. Missiles, bullets, and the electrical disrupter hurtle towards Superman. Only his love for Lois and his determination to see his children born motivate him to make a hyperfast escape. He is later consoled by his wife, who now can feel the babies kicking.

Clark decides another approach. Over the next few weeks, he leaves Superman-related pranks all over the nation's capitol: a personal note on Malloy's desk, an action figure on the desk of another, Superman comics in the place of debriefings at the Pentagon. Malloy finally concedes to a private meeting at the top of the Washington monument. Superman posts the offer again, and it is accepted. As to how they'll communicate, Clark instructs him to leave a message in the ad section of the Albuquerque Sun-Times as a start.

More time passes, as Clark keeps up his internet search for information about himself, his rescues without the government's persecution (save a compact sensor array he detects and deposits in the drawer of Malloy's desk), and the new nursery for the babies. Finally, the big day arrives, but Clark is called away by Malloy via an ultrasonic signal. Lois understands.

A hostage situation has developed in Olmec Dawn, South Africa, related to an oil dispute. While Superman disables the hostile actions of military-armed oppression, Lois gives a painful delivery back at the hospital.

When all the dust has settled, Clark is sickened at the fact that there could have been a better way to end the conflict, and then streaks back towards home. In normal clothes, he rushes into the hospital...where he's greeted by a smiling Lois and his two twin daughters, who he promises not to name Lana, Linda, or Kara, and to protect them always.

5Story - 5: I have to say, I'm impressed. Kurt Busiek keeps hitting them out of the park. I like the idea of having Clark alter his Superman appearance; the glasses motif would never work in real life. Also, the way Lois and Clark are depicted as a real married couple bridges the gap between fantasy and reality. This Superman truly feels real to me, and I hope the feeling's mutual.

The only complaint I have is the secretiveness of their marriage. Both Lois and Clark are prominent public figures, especially with book signings. Why would they have to obtain a marriage license from another country? Yes, I realize that the government persecution is reason enough, but I just don't see the logic. Anyway, that's the only complaint I have. Everything else is great. Another good move on Busiek's part is not have Agent Malloy have all the answers to the origins of Clark's abilities. That would have taken away that "life" that this conflict has. Also, it's an original concept in terms of the Superman family: Clark Kent with twin daughters. That'll be interesting to see. Keep up the good work.

5Art - 5: Once again, Immonen keeps belting out great photo-realistic art. Lois Kent is a complete knockout, especially in the bedroom scenes and even when she's pregnant. The only complaint is the length of Clark's cape. Personally, I'd have found it more imposing if it were an inch longer, stopping above the ankles. It has too much of a George Reeves feel to it. The character of Clark is now less like Tom Welling and coming more into his own. As I've noted in past reviews, his strengths are also in landscape art. His depiction of Maine, Washington, and the open sea are breathtaking to behold. DC couldn't have chosen a better artist for this series.

5Cover Art - 5: The image of Superman carrying two infant children with a panoramic shot of military choppers captures the topic at hand. The grim look on his face perfectly embodies the inner conflict and fear he has about raising a family in a world where he's being hunted for what he is. And having the kids smile adds to the tragic feeling that they have no clue as to the danger that exists around them because of their relation to this real-life Superman.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2004

February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2004.