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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 28 February 2011
This book is incredible, if your a big superman fan then this is for you, if your a big comics fan... then this is for you and if you like the idea of a man with extraordinary powers trying to change the way a city thinks then this is for you, Geoff Johns is a comic book genius, he creates an amazingly refreshing look at supermans origin, and don't worry film fans he obviously draws strongly from the 1978 Richard Donner version of superman, the art in this book is brilliant and you can't help but see Christopher Reeve (The greatest superman ever) staring out at you from the pages, Lois Lane is updated and protrayed excellently and Jimmy is still an underdog, but modernised. Overall this book is brilliant, even if you don't read comics you NEED to buy this, and if you do read comics and this is'nt a part of your collection then click "buy" and remedy this you will not regret it.
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on 11 March 2013
Not so much a 'secret' origin but more of a Geoff Johns telling of Superman. I really enjoyed this, it was modern without it being shoved down your throat and still managed to have the Superman that we all know without revamping the character, Lois Lane blends so well with the story as well as Jimmy Olsen and maintain to be as we all remember, without steering away from the action scenes which are amazing with a Parasite origin worked in and being a sort of low level antagonist for Supes, used as a weapon by Luthor. And a new spin on the other antagonist Metallo as a soldier under General Lane both again are weapons used by Luthor.

Geoff Johns' Lex Luthor is near enough the same age as Clark Kent and grew up in Smallville to a poor family and an abusive father, he's made his own fortune and now rules Metropolis. To me this is how Luthor should be portrayed, evil, jealous, powerful and a force to be reckoned with.

I would say for Superman fans and people getting into Supes that this is essential reading, Geoff Johns and Gary Franks Superman is the quintessential Man of Steel and this is the beginning, I would also suggest that the graphic novel 'Superman: last son' as great take too. Gary Franks artwork is amazing and bases the likeness of Superman on Christopher Reeve which is perfect, I recommend this highly to any fans or anyone looking to start as this is a great jumping off point.
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on 11 November 2012
This is the not-so secret origin story of the most famous superhero of them all, Superman. Geoff Johns runs through Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman's life story from his humble beginnings in Smallville, Kansas, growing up on the farm of Jonathan and Martha Kent, slowly realising his powers and alien ancestry as he becomes older, and meeting Lex Luthor for the first time, to his tentative first steps in Metropolis as he gets a job at The Daily Planet newspaper and meets the love of his life, Lois Lane.

If you're a Superman fan this is all familiar territory. In fact, this is the big problem with the book: it doesn't need to exist. The origin story has been told so many times before, doing it again feels pointless. I feel that if you're going to rehash the same story one more time, the writer ought to bring something new to the table, provide a different slant on the tale, but Geoff Johns doesn't do this. This is the definitive Superman story as it's been told in many books before. It's so familiar, even those people who've never read a Superman book could probably tell it to you.

And all of the characters behave as you would expect: Clark is clumsy, Superman is noble and heroic, Lois is independent and beautiful, Jonathan and Martha are the perfect parents, Perry White is gregarious, Jimmy Olson is the eager to please kid who's Superman's buddy, Lex is evil. They're all so one dimensional and unsurprising it's boring to read. Like from the first panel, Lex is instantly evil and muttering darkly about his plans for world domination like a Bond villain. The character treatments just feel rote.

Which isn't to say the book is a total dud. Johns is a talented writer who completely understands the iconic character and writes his voice perfectly, as he does Lois', and artist Gary Frank provides outstanding artwork throughout (even if he does make the questionable choice of making Christopher Reeve his model in this book - the visual is just too distracting).

If you're new to Superman books or looking for a book to introduce the character to someone unfamiliar with him, this is the perfect book to begin with. If however you've read a few Superman books, chances are you'll find little here you've not read before in one volume or another. Personally, I found "Secret Origin" to be decently written and well illustrated but was a disappointingly flat and uninspired read.
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2010
As the title of this book says, this is the secret origin of Superman. We have had lots of different slants on Clark Kent taking on the mantle of Superman and now we have this offering from Geoff Johns.
I am a big fan of Geoff Johns. He has done some excellent work on Superman - Superman: New Krypton v. 1 (Superman 1),Superman: New Krypton v. 2 (Superman 2),Last Son (Superman (DC Comics)) and Brainiac (Superman (DC Comics)) to name a few that i would highly recommend (though there are others to enjoy too!). He has also done the excellent Flash: Rebirth (Flash (DC Comics)) and some brilliant work in the acclaimed Blackest Night series. And so, i was really excited about reading this book.
And it didn't disappoint. This is exactly what i was looking for. This book chronicles Clark Kent's life on the Kent farm, his relationship with Lana, how he discovers his powers and ultimately puts them to good use. There are also some well-thought out sub plots too. An interesting look at how a young Clark and Lex meet in Smallville is well handled, and so is a trip into the future with the Legion of Super Heroes.
As he moves to Metropolis and joins the Daily Planet we see the bumbling Clark Kent that Christopher Reeve played so well. Indeed, the artwork is so close to looking like Christopher Reeve i think he should have had his name on the front cover! In Metropolis we get to see Luthor at his most manipulative - blackmailing the military on one hand, and being seen as a saviour by the common man on the other. But as Superman arrives on the scene, that perspective is about to change....
Perry White, Lois Lane and Jimmy all get a reasonable chunk of page space in this book too. And it is very interesting to see the origins of Parasite and Metallo here too.
There is a lot going on here! But somehow Geoff Johns gets all of this into the 192 pages without it feeling rushed. It is very well paced, and edited.
The artwork is excellent too - by Gary Frank and Jon Sibal - and really adds to the story without overpowering the writing. Everything is really well-balanced.
As you can tell, i loved this book and read it in one sitting! And i will be re-reading this book again in the not too distant future. It is as near to being perfect as you could wish for, though i would have liked to have seen a bit more interaction with Clark and Lana as they grow older. I always liked Lana as a character and would have liked more storylines with her involved.
All in all this is a must buy. If you are a fan of Geoff Johns, or Superman (or both) then you are in for a treat.
If you are stuck between buying this book and Superman: Earth One (Superman Limited Gns (DC Comics R)) then i would say - BUY BOTH!!! They both have something to offer to the origin of Superman, and handle it in slightly different ways that are equally enjoyable.
As for this book - it is an essential addition to any Superman fans collection, and is near perfection. I can't recommend this book highly enough - and i hope you enjoy it too!
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on 3 January 2013
After buying this as a gift for someone for Christmas I can say that they are very pleased with the book and finished it relatively quick. They told me that the art in the book is very nice and the story is something different as it explains the secret origin.
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on 22 February 2012
How can i put this any simpler....If you are a fan of the Man of Steel and you have not read this yet, then don't delay, buy today!!!

Whether intentionally or just a fluke, but reading Secret Origin is like watching Superman 1,2,3 or 4 (okay, maybe i over-did it a little with 4!) The Superman image portrayed in the graphic novel is similar to that of Christopher Reeve, and that in itself is a huge bonus. Added to the mix is the writing talents of Geoff Johns and you have what should have been the essence of 'Superman Returns'

From the turn of the first page, to the last, the images sweep you up, up and away and you forget sometimes that you are reading as it is presented like a motion picture. The storyline is excellent and in my eye's, much better than the 'Birthright' re-boot. It is a welcome addition to the Superman Lore!!!
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on 7 June 2014
The origin of Superman is a story that has been told over and over again. This is one of them and its well worth the read. With a library of iconic Superman characters such as Lois Lane, Jimmy Olson, Metallo, The Parasite, Perry white and of course Superman's greatest enemy Lex Luthor. The comic tells the tale of how a young Clark Kent discovers his true origins and makes it his mission to help people, even though most of them are scared and afraid of him. This is for anyone who wants to get into Superman comics or those who already know and love them.
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on 15 May 2013
The artwork pulls you in because its very similar to the style of the 70s-80s but with a modernisation thats all. The fact Superman here is clearly drawn based on Christopher Reeve will also delight fans of Reeve and Donner.

The story is pretty emotional at at the early parts and this is crucial, since it allows the audience to sympathise with young Clark and from there, everything falls into place.

I wouldnt say this was a great story to go gaga over but its decent enough and theres just something touching and honest about this piece. Nothing pretentious. I say its worth getting for the art alone.
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on 12 May 2012
I've read quite a few superman stories over the last few years and this is certainly one of the better ones. The artwork is really crisp and colourful. The story is reminiscent of Superman:The Movie with its use of language. The main villain is Lex Luthor, who also lets another villain have a bit of time too!
Overall I really enjoyed this story and read through it in a couple of hours! If you're reading this far down in the reviews then I suggest you click 'Buy Now'!!!
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VINE VOICEon 4 March 2011
Superman has become an archetype, as well as an icon, of the superhuman (even though he's technically not human and, at the very least, he was preceded by Philip Wylie's novel Gladiator). But Superman was the first (1938, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) to appear in comics and his comic book descendants number in their hundreds.

With Superman being about 73 years old it's not suprising that his origin has undergone several re-interpretations as times have changed. DC Comics has rebooted their entire universe at least three times in the last 25 years. With the first of them, DC hired writer/artist John Byrne to reboot Superman, getting rid of Superboy, Supergirl, and Krypto the Superdog, and de-powering a character who had become virtually (and boringly so) effectively omnipotent in the process. Needless to say these changes didn't last and all three have since reappeared albeit not always the same as before. Superman: Secret Origins is a fresh look (in a 6-part comic series) at Superman's early years starting with him as teenager and ending with establishing himself in Metropolis in a way that defines the character for today. Ironically Clark Kent is visually based on the late actor Christopher Reeve who so defined Superman and Clark Kent in the movies. This works well and is an appropriate tribute to Reeve.

Because of his powers, Superman can easily be boring and uninteresting as a character and credible threats have to be ramped up to ludicrous levels. In this story, however, we're looking at a teenager and a young man learning how to come to terms with his powers and the dangers they involve and in learning about the world. It's a journey to the beginning of maturity and the focus is on the man and not the superhuman. The storytelling is clear, uncomplicated

The art by Gary Frank (a British artist) is clean, detailed, and realistic. If you were to make a criticism it would be to call him Bolland-lite. (Another British artist working in American comics who has a strong clear line in detailed realistic artwork but with an often humourous touch.) Frank's style is pleasing to the eye, his panels never confuse, but genuinely enhance the story.

Geoff Johns is a talented but often inconsistent writer. Here, thankfully, he's on good form and he tells the story of Superman's early years with a sensitive touch. He hits all the usual bases: -Lana Lang, the first girlfriend; discovering his origin and the trauma it causes; meeting teenage Lex Luthor (before the premature baldness set in naturally). Johns even brings in The Legion of Superheroes. And cut to Clark Kent's wide-eyed country boy arrival in the great metropolis of... Metropolis to start his job on a near-bankrupt Daily Planet. He quickly meets Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane. Lois, and this is where Johns scores very highly, is a sharp intelligent young woman and she quickly notices that Clark's bumbling act is just that and she challenges him on it, though she doesn't get an answer. And on to the conflict with Lex Luthor, hero of the city, which includes effective reworkings of stock Superman villains the Parasite and Metallo. We also meet Lois's estranged military father who is almost as much of a sc*mbag as his ally Luthor. And much more.

This manages to balance traditional scenarios with often subtle changes which enhance this retelling of an oft-told tale. Indeed this is so good and so accessible that it's the perfect introduction to the superhero comic for someone who's never read one before. I was enjoying reading this so much I felt frustrated when I came to the end that there wasn't any more.
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