Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

Superman: Secret Identity #1

By Koppy McFad
January 19, 2004 - 14:49

The story, set seemingly in the "real world", opens with a teenaged boy in Kansas whose parents, as a joke, actually named "Clark Kent." The fact that he looks like the comic-book character and lives in a Smallville-type town leaves poor Clark with having to endure years of bad-Superman jokes, not to mention some cruel bullying and feelings of isolation. One day, inexplicably, Clark awakens and discovers he does have Superman's powers. What do you think happens then? Busiek answers that question in a very restrained, understated way. His Clark does not instantly turn into a superhero but nor does he overly abuse his super-powers. Instead, he exults in the sheer use of his powers while keeping them secret and trying to find out where his abilities came from. Immonen complements Busiek's story well, making his characters and backgrounds look realistic while conveying the sheer wonderment of Clark's newfound capabilities, particularly his flying.

Readers expecting another "Watchmen" story about how superbeings can change the world, will feel cheated. Although the lead character does engage in a few feats of heroism, he tries to maintain a low profile and is constantly torn between the urge to show-off his new powers and his fears of being considered a freak. Busiek and Immonen are more concerned with the personal story of a boy who finds himself blessed with super-powers rather on the larger tale of how the world would react if Superman ever became a real person. Comic fans will find the hero of this tale easy to identify with. (Or at least, those comic book fans who don't fantasize about destroying New Jersey or vaporizing their high school.) It is the ordinary setting of this tale that makes it so affecting. In fact, the sudden appearance of mysterious "men in black" at the end of the story, seems to spoil the satisying simplicity of the tale itself. This is just the first part of a longer story but it stands very well on its own.

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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