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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman: Secret Origin #4 Superman: Secret Origin #4

Superman: Secret Origin #4

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 27, 2010

Cover date: March 2010


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

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey, Adam Dechanel and James Lantz

Click to enlarge

Lex Luthor continues his daily tradition of selecting someone from the crowd below his tower and providing them with a new life. He chooses Rudy Jones from the crowd, who eagerly shuffles in. As he does, Lex demands an audience with Lois Lane with regards to the flying man.

Lois and Perry debate the story about the flying man, while the other reporters look on in interest. Luthor goons show and demand that Lois go with them, and they ask for Clark to come as well. Lois agrees, given the opportunity to finally quiz Luthor.

Rudy takes stacks of free donuts from a table as Luthor starts to offer him education. Rudy asks if he can trade the education for its cash value. In the background, lab techs remove purple goo.

Lois and Clark wait for Luthor, who appears as they're talking about his wealth. Lois lights into him with questions. As they do, Rudy bucks some medical tests a technician is giving him and goes for more donuts. One falls into the purple gloop, and he eats it anyway. He starts turning purple, and latches onto a nearby Lexcorp employee.

Clark hears Parasite's rampage, tries to make an excuse to leave, but as he does, the Parasite bursts in, having smelled him. Superman appears and takes Parasite out of the building. As he does, Parasite's teeth grow outward, and he sucks on Superman's neck, stealing power. They crash on street level.

Superman musters strength and punches the Parasite. He hits Parasite with heat vision, then freezes him in place. The people around seem afraid of Superman and thankful. Luthor appears, and tries to foster the fear. Superman leaves.

On the roof of the Daily Planet, he sees Jimmy on the ledge. Thinking him about to commit suicide, Superman stops him. They talk about feeling ostracized in the big city, and how Jimmy is thinking of leaving. Superman persuades him not to, given that Jimmy is his only friend in the city. Jimmy asks if he can take a picture of Superman, and Superman allows it. Jimmy has him put his hands on his hips.

The issue runs with Lois' story and Jimmy's picture, infuriating Luthor and causing him to declare personal war on Perry White.

Neal's Review:

5Story - 5: Still enjoying this series a great deal, and so far, nothing in terms of continuity change or story has made me bristle in the slightest. I really enjoy this new Parasite, and this is Luthor in top form.

I thought the reviews of this series, like those of Birthright, would be a mishmash of how continuity couldn't fit, what changes sucked and which ones didn't, but so far this series has managed to drag my aching, nerdlet fanboy eyes straight to the story by virtue of the economical and vast use of character. You're so sucked in by how well these people interact, you don't realize it's an origin. Johns has a special talent for this, and this is one of those cases where even if this has been done before, it's never been done like this.

I'm realizing that my only regret as this series continues on is that it will conclude and not drop straight into year one. And hey, you better resolve that "CALL CHLOE" thing...

5Art - 5: From the static panel of Superman in the wash of a car exploding to the opening spread of Luthor talking to the ants, this just rocked. I may be easy to please when it comes to art, because writing is my thing, but I quite enjoy what Frank is doing here. Lois and Lex and Superman blow me away.

4Cover Art - 4: It doesn't represent what's happening in the issue, so I docked a point, but the image is an easy five. Everything in context, though. It's still awesome.

5Cover Art (Alternate) - 5: I enjoy this cover even more than the last, even though I like both for entirely different reasons. Great action pose, forgivable even though it is only half of what happened in the issue at hand, it still represents something that did happen. Watch your hands, though, Supes. Yeesh.

Adam's Review:

2Story - 2: Aside from one really nice scene between Clark and Jimmy, I'm pretty disappointed with this issue. Sure Parasite is a cool villain and his foreshadowing early on made him interesting but I was hoping for more Lex (anyone else feel like they're watching Willy Wonka when he's doing his 'charity' offerings?) and Superman and felt maybe this should have been saved for Superman Villains: Secret Origin rather than taking away precious story pages from our hero (WONK does enough of that already). Sure the tweaks in the origin are sweet and an affectionate note to stories past. Lois is brilliant here (far more so than her counterpart today) and Lex is his usual twisted self, but with just two issues to go I'm wondering... this was supposed to explain away all the continuity errors and black holes way back in 2005 by Geoff Johns himself... so far it's done none of that except reintroduce the original Teen of Steel and the Legion... Quick trivia for you: In Superman #684 we were introduced to the reinvented Parasite - but he looks completely different here.

People whinged at Birthright and people whinged the Man of Steel mini was being wiped out... but prior to this issue I was pro Secret Origin... now I have Jackie Chan & Chris Tucker singing the line "what is it good for" in my head and I hope the book does deliver on its promise to "explain away all the errors of the past four years," "change Superman forever" and become "the definitive origin" because aside from some fan service it's now failing all those promises.

5Art - 5: Metropolis looks spectacular. The cast looks spectacular. One thing can be said for this Secret Origin and that is Gary Frank's designs are just brilliant. His Brainiac arc was amazing and here the artwork has been a little rocky but it's really starting to pick up pace and visually blow you away.

3Cover Art - 3: Why a three? Its not a rating on the art - that IS superb but it's a three because it's now been out there for so long it's become dull... when I first saw it I was like WOW! Jor-El and Lara! And they look cool! Seeing them properly with their new looks and not as AI in the Fortress of Solitude in sunstone crystals had a breathtaking quality - and Superman - finally on the cover! But now it's in print it's got a little bit of meh factor... mainly because DC ruined it by leaking it so early.

5Cover Art (Alternate) - 5: Now this is cool!

Superman protecting Lois and a rampaging Parasite, a big sack of grossness about to feed! Superb!

James' Review:

5Story - 5: Again, there's nothing new, and I would have liked to have seen more of the "Fear Superman" angle in the story. However, Johns has written a fast paced tale that leaves the audience wanting more. I hope the next issues give us more of everything that makes Secret Origin so incredible so far. The characterization of Lex Luthor is especially well done. That is one of my favorite parts in this book.

4Art - 4: Once again, we have the most stunning visuals put into the Superman books in the past couple of years. They seem to leap off the page while throwing the reader into the action.

5Cover Art - 5: It's a fairly iconic image that works perfectly in the series of regular covers. It's one of the best ones Frank and Sibal have done.

5Cover Art (Alternate) - 5: While it does give too much away, it's an awesome image worthy of this entire mini-series. Plus, as I said before, I'm a sucker for Superman and Lois covers.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2010

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