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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman: Secret Origin #6 Superman: Secret Origin #6

Superman: Secret Origin #6

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 25, 2010

Cover date: October 2010

"Secret Origin" - Book Six: "The End"

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

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey, Adam Dechanel and James Lantz

Click to enlarge

The soldiers in the Daily Planet attempt to confiscate personal property from the staff. Sam Lane tells Lois that it's a matter of national security. When Lois defends Superman, Sam Lane points out that he's an alien.

Lex Luthor manages to bring Metallo back to life.

The soldiers track Superman. When they find him he fights back, coming from the sewers back up to the street. As they do, Sam Lane tells his daughter they've found a rock that can defeat Superman.

The soldiers begin confiscating the Daily Planet's computers. Jimmy uses his flash from a spare camera to distract them, and Lois sneaks away to warn Superman.

As Superman subdues soldiers, Metallo appears. When other soldiers try to attack Superman, Corben attacks them, saying it's his fight.

Lois arrives and warns Superman. Superman punches off Metallo's face, revealing a Frankenstein's monster style John Corben.

Metallo weakens Superman with Kryptonite blasts. Superman throws a manhole cover at him and melts it with his heat vision, stopping the Kryptonite. He takes Metallo up into space and renders him unconscious.

Superman tries to calm the crowd as the soldiers close in. He tells them to stop looking for a savior in either him or Lex Luthor.

Luthor tries to call Sam Lane, but Lane refuses his phone calls. In frustration, he throws an award out his window. Superman returns it, and tells Lex that he's watching him.

Clark asks Lois out to lunch, but instead she's drawn to the roof for a meeting with Superman. Superman and Lois draw closer until Jimmy interrupts. Superman restarts the Planet globe, and when Lois asks him if he's an alien or a man, he says he's Superman.

The next day, no one comes out to see Luthor and get their wish, and everyone in the city is looking up for Superman.

Neal's Review:

3Story - 3: A lot of the things that made the series great so far are present, and fantastic. The scene with Luthor was incredible, as was the scene with Lois and Superman on the roof with Jimmy. The closure of everyone looking up, and Lex being disgruntled and ignored, they were all great additions to this thus far wonderful story.

There was, however, a big drag in terms of a few things that seemed out of character or odd to me. I had trouble buying into the fact that Lane could, even under the most strict wartime conditions, do what he did to that paper and come out smelling of roses. Or even do what he did, period, without the people in that office physically attacking the soldiers.

The "alien" thing that Sam Lane uses as a big gotcha moment, and the reaction everyone has to it, didn't ring true either. I can't honestly believe that anyone would care that Superman was an alien, provided it didn't provide him some gross physical characteristic. The thing that would scare them are his powers, which at this point in the narrative are already clearly being used for good.

I was also upset with some of the story choices for both the soldiers and Metallo. Superman stands by as the soldiers attack him, and fights with them, instead of fleeing. This endangers people, and it also makes him look bad. Real bad. I mean the one thing that people in the United States don't criticize, circumstances be damned, is the American fighting soldier. They may criticize the people pulling the strings, but that's not who Superman is throwing through the air and attacking here. It seems like he wouldn't come out of that with people throwing bottles at the soldiers, he'd come out of that with people throwing bottles at him. I know it's a reason for him to be there when Metallo returns, and as such sort of needed to happen, but it still throws his resolution to the public fear problem into doubt for me.

And one last thing that stuck out, taking Metallo to space and nearly killing him instead of just creating a vortex to suck out the air around him seemed like dangerous, out of character overkill, no matter how cool it looked. It took me out.

So in essence, where the story was the same cool, coherent, evocative narrative as it's been the rest of the series so far, I loved it, to the point that it hurt, but the fact that it diverged and went slightly out of character for almost half the issue drug it down to an average read, sadly.

Still a great way to go out in those last few pages, and this one semi-weak chapter won't sully the whole at all.

5Art - 5: Still just as good as it was in issue one. I don't like waiting this long for it, really, but I can't bang on the quality. I just wish it'd get to me promptly, and that they would not announce things before they can be done in a timely way. I'd rather wait.

5Cover Art - 5: A strong amalgamation of all the things that happened in the issue at hand, with a cool format, neat coloring, and a timeless quality. I dig it.

5Cover Art (Alternate) - 5: Also a very vivid, strong, symbolic cover depicting the driving force behind the issue, Superman getting through the first threat of Kryptonite. Great draw-in factor.

Adam's Review:

1Story - 1: Superman Secret Origin? Sorry. No.

What started out as promising ended as a poor, lackluster story. This, remember folks, is the origin to 'end all origins'. This was the adventure that inspired the modern age of heroes... What did Secret Origin really do? It pulled a Bryan Singer. A love letter to their own memories. Just as Superman Returns was a homage to Superman: The Movie.

So Secret Origin is a vague love letter to Geoff Johns & Gary Frank's own world. To his own admission Gary Frank is quoted at Fan Expo:

"It was just kind of condensing the things that were important to Geoff and I in terms of what we felt captured Superman best and resonated with us," said Frank.

A shame they forgot about the readers... Okay Secret Origin gave us back the Teen of Steel but aside from that this series was nothing more than a prequel to the whole "World of New Krypton" series. It made Metallo a jealous ex-boyfriend of Lois, in a green gimp man suit instead of the almost undefeatable war machine we're used to. Parasite into a bizarre parody of Homer Simpson and Lex... well actually he was deadlier when he was in Man of Steel... here he just seemed like an arrogant buffoon. For all the fuss Birthright caused and even Man of Steel in the eighties, this was by far the worst origin... because in essence it isn't one at all.

Now if it was Superman: Prequel To WONK(y) storylines.

Did it succeed? Yes. If it was that it'd get a 5/5 because it neatly brings the story full circle - if only the six parter had come BEFORE WONK - maybe it would have made all the difference - (take note for lazy release dates DC) because motivations are clearer, character development tighter, and the WONK story along with Superman's current 'walk' actually work in a vague sort of way... but this ISN'T a Prequel - it's billed as an ORIGIN and thus it's a very poor attempt overall. To hear the creative team outright say they wrote the story for THEMSELVES is a terrible insult to Superman fans the world over.

4Art - 4: The artwork is inspired. The action is expertly rendered, the pace is rocky but the artwork is solid. I honestly can't fault it... the inking however is a little 'scratchy' in places and if I was to fault something it's the smiles... but as it's not a sudden shift in creativity that's just nitpicking.

2Cover Art - 2: The wholesome cover is cute but as the climax to the definitive origin I personally want a cover that says "I'm Superman, I'm the first superhero and I'm the best - remember that".

I didn't get that here...

5Cover Art (Alternate) - 5: But I did here!

Now this cover really tells you Superman means business.

James' Review:

5Story - 5: As much as I love Man of Steel and the Post-Crisis continuity, I also enjoyed Secret Origin. This particular issue was an excellent way to wrap up the series. We witness Superman's early years, great changes in the city of Metropolis and the seeds of General Sam Lane's obsessions from New Krypton being planted. These things, combined with a solid story, make this issue a must-read. I'm now impatient for the deluxe hardcover edition.

5Art - 5: More stunning visuals from Frank and Sibal. The closing scene was especially breathtaking for me. I hope to see Gary Frank do more in Superman's universe in the future.

5Cover Art - 5: It's an unusual choice for the standard cover, but it's well done.

5Cover Art (Alternate) - 5: I probably would have switched the variant and regular covers had I been one of the powers that be, but Gary Frank has given us two great images to open the conclusion of this series.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

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