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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman: Secret Origin #2 Superman: Secret Origin #2

Superman: Secret Origin #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 28, 2009

Cover date: December 2009

"Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Gary Frank
Inker: Jon Sibal

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey, Adam Dechanel and James Lantz

Click to enlarge

Lionel Luthor careens down the road in a drunken stupor. He sees a pile of rubble too late, and his truck goes off a cliff toward water far below. He sees a red blur, and is saved from death by Superboy.

The police ignore his crazy story. Lex Luthor gets the call that his father has been saved, and tells them to tow the truck back home. It is indicated that he sabotaged the brakes on the vehicle, from manuals sitting around his work area.

Clark comes back home by slipping through a secret underground tunnel. He tells his parents that he has been staying out of sight, mostly out of embarrassment about his uniform.

Clark looks to the skies with his Pa, sees into distant galaxies, and wonders if he's alone. He studies Dr. Erdel's book the next day, and Lex interrupts him in the process of researching Metropolis for the building Lex plans on constructing in the city.

After Lex tells Clark of his grand plan, Clark offers to hang out with Lex some time. Lex sneers at the idea.

Lana tries to console Clark over the fact that most of the kids are not hanging out with him, or that he's pushing them away. When Lana kisses him on the cheek his eyes begin to flare, and inadvertently he tells Lana that he only wants to be friends, and sends her off upset as well.

He hears the other kids poking fun at him, and is soon interrupted by three members of the Legion of Superheroes.

The Legion bend the rules to take him to the future. They fight a group of human supremacists. Brainiac 5 interrupts their revelry to remind them of the consequences of their actions. They talk telepathically and remind themselves to be careful not to reveal future occurrences, a few of which we haven't seen the story of, including the Earth/New Krypton war and the death of Lex Luthor.

They return Clark to the present and promise future adventures.

As Clark describes the future to Pa, a rocket approaches the house. Clark stops it, revealing the test rocket with Krypto.

Lex Luthor, in the meanwhile, watches as his father is wheeled away, dead of "heart failure." Lex is gleeful, given that with his insurance policy he can now go to Metropolis and leave Smallville behind.

Neal's Review:

5Story - 5: Again, it can be argued that this doesn't establish much new. And it doesn't. But what it does do is tell a good story, and offer us a jump point of continuity, and so far even with my picky eye I can't find much that contradicts what happens post-Infinite Crisis here.

I actually like what they've done that does change things. They managed to make Superboy a part of the past again without making it the cheeseball concept it implies. Clark is embarrassed to be out there in the uniform, and when he does he keeps it hidden so that people will not follow his path from Smallville to Metropolis and be able to make the Clark/Superman connection.

At first I was worried that the Legion stuff would just be a repeat of what Johns already did a while back, but he expands upon and continues to convey his vision of the Legion in a way that makes it interesting and still futuristic without all the hokey or difficult to climb mountains that have made the Legion a tough sell for me.

Lex is superb. His ambition, his rationale for leaving, the idea of a sister we don't know about. I love it all. I love how it was done, and I love the fact that Lex is somehow half an inspiration for Clark leaving Smallville, and that they are kind of friends, but never really buddy buddy in that way that Smallville muddied.

5Art - 5: Some people love Frank, some hate his work, but now that he seems to have a full grasp on Clark and the character is not looking like a thin version of Reeve and instead a younger version of Reeve, this is rocking it out for me. I like it.

5Cover Art - 5: Iconic, embodying what's going on in the issue, and just a great pose. This could be a poster if you were a Legion geek.

4Cover Art (Alternate) - 4: Not as super cool as the other cover, but then again, nothing to slouch at either, with its vivid characters and bright color work.

Adam's Review:

5Story - 5: This time round the story begins to flow more.

It's a far more creative affair than last issue and expertly weaves in the past stories.

Lex's story was creepy and insightful... I love the murder plot, it was far more instrumental in showing the creepy, ruthless side to Lex than his other scenes here or last issue.

I enjoyed the scene where Lex slapped down Clark's offer of friendship it makes much more sense that Lex believes Clark and all the townies to be beneath him and his intelligence.

I like that Krypto is back and able to build a realistic relationship with Clark.

I liked the reestablishment of the Legion back to its relatively pure origin, and Clark's involvement with their catchphrase.

The soppy geek in me also liked that Chief Parker was alive and well!

Something I never really bought in the polyester era stories is that Clark developed his powers late and was suddenly a superhero capable of full use of his powers and fighting skills... yes he had his vague 'year out traveling the world' but I prefer this explanation - that he learnt to be 'super' by being with other super people and in turn more like a person than a freak with powers.

The only downer I had on this issue was Rokk revealing stories that haven't been told yet... it felt like a shoehorned moment; especially as it was in a tiny throwaway bubble and he didnt mention ANY of the events prior - like Clark's death, Lois Lane, etc...

Overall, a superb read!

3Art - 3: Clark's age fluctuations are really tugging me out of the story... Its unfortunate as the entire book is practically a masterpiece of luscious pencils and ink.

I wouldn't normally downgrade the book for such a small thing - I get that Clark as a kid is supposed to look weird but it's just that it's not consistent. I could go on about the rest of the art but Clark's appearance is really starting to niggle at me, so much so it's harming the rest of the book.

4Cover Art - 4: The cover again, like last issue, is a pure slice of Superman but again Clark doesn't look right... he looks like a young Prince Charles here and he really doesn't inside nor in the previous chapter.

I'm not sure what it is but Clark looks weird especially when you compare the looks of his teammates... the rating is bumped up because Saturn Girl is sporting her proper hairstyle, not the agressive cut she has in the present... erm... future... you know what I mean!

James' Review:

5Story - 5: I'm of a mindset that any version of the Superman character works for its particular era. Everyone has their favorite. Now, I tend to try and find good points about each rendition, be it for comic books, radio or TV. I grew up reading the Bronze Age stories, but I also enjoy the Post-Crisis tales. That said, I've honestly missed seeing Superboy. Admittedly, I've only read a few of his adventures, but I did have as much fun with them as I did with the second installment of Secret Origin.

In addition to the normal superhuman aspects of a Superman story, Johns has written some emotional pieces that work well into this book. From Clark's refusal of Lana and his fitting in with the Legion, to Lex's relationships with his father and Clark, those scenes pack as much wallop as any punch the Boy of Steel gives his foes.

Johns gave us plot threads from this issue in Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes, and the payoff came in this chapter. That, combined with Krypto's arrival and the seeds of the Superman/Lex Luthor rivalry being planted, makes for yet another fun comic that is a fast read full of action. Sure, many elements have been seen before, but Johns put them in a way that is familiar, yet new and exciting. Issue three, please hurry up and arrive in my hands soon.

5Art - 5: Simply breathtaking... That's the best way I can describe the stunning visuals from Gary Frank and Jon Sibal. This team has finally given us the true essence of every bit of Superman's universe. I look forward to every page done by both artists.

5Cover Art - 5: It gives the buyer a taste of what's inside while making them curious about its contents. That's what every great cover should do. I wish I saw more images like this on new comic books.

5Cover Art (Alternate) - 5: This one is as amazing as the regular edition. Plus, it gives the audience the sense of fun that they'll find inside.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2009

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