Saturday, September 14, 2013

[BOOK REVIEW] Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek

Title:  Superman: Secret Identity

Author:  Kurt Busiek

Artist: Stuart Immonen

Genre: Superhero / Action / Adventure

Year Published: 2004

Year Read: 2013

Series: Superman

Publisher: DC Comics

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 11+ (Some Language)

Buy or Add on:  Amazon  //  Goodreads


Now, I have just recently gotten into the “Superman” comics, starting with “Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” and after enjoying that comic, I decided to check out more “Superman” comics!  So, I finally managed to stumbled upon a “Superman” comic that my friends have strongly recommended to me and it was called “Superman: Secret Identity,” which was written by Kurt Busiek along with artwork by Stuart Immonen and I have to tell you that this is clearly one of the best modern “Superman” comics I have ever read!

What is this story about?

Imagine living in a world that is more real than anything you read about in the comics and that you have the same name as one of the world’s most iconic superheroes.  Well, that is certainly the case here with Clark Kent, who unfortunately was named after the real Superman and is often teased at school about whether or not he has powers like Superman.  One day however, Clark discovers that he has super powers like the real Superman and he will soon find out about the advantages and disadvantages of having powers that will go on throughout his entire life!

What I loved about this story:

Kurt Busiek’s writing:  Since this is the first time I had ever read a comic book written by Kurt Busiek, I was amazed at how beautiful and emotional the writing in this story is.  I loved the way that Kurt Busiek explored Clark Kent’s personal problems with being compared to Superman due to his name being similar to the real Superman and the kids at school making fun of him because of it.  I was also amazed at the way that Kurt Busiek detailed the story from Clark Kent’s high school years to his adult years as we not only get to see one of the most natural story progressions for a character, but we also get to see how Clark starts discovering his powers and starts using them to protect people as he gets older.  What I really loved about this comic book is that the story is kind of set in an alternative universe (well, a universe inspired by Superboy of Earth Prime) and I loved the way that Kurt Busiek gave us a universe where Superman seems to only exist in comic books and that the main character, Clark Kent, is just a regular boy who lives in Kansas who somehow develops super powers and the fact that he tries to find out how he got his powers is one of the driving forces of the story. This is story is sort of like “Kick-Ass” where the main character lives in a realistic world (except in this case, there is no blood or gore to make the story edgy).  I really loved Clark Kent’s relationship with Lois Chaudhari (who also got a lot of flack for having the same name as Lois Lane) as it felt so natural and it is obvious that they clearly care for each other and they try to do what is best for each other.

Stuart Immonen’s artwork:  Probably the best part of this comic book was Stuart Immonen’s artwork as it was truly gorgeous and realistic to look at!  I loved the way that Stuart Immonen made the landscape and the characters look so realistic, especially of the buildings looking like they came straight out of a photograph (which is a good thing in this case)!  I also loved the way that the characters’ expressions were drawn as they look truly effective and realistic to the point where I actually felt so much emotion for the characters whenever they are sad or angry.

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

For anyone who does not like language in a comic book, this comic book does have some language, even though it is not as strong as something like Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” series.

*~A Little Rant~*

Okay, this is just a little rant I have on the state of relationships in superhero comics due to what I read in this comic.  If this graphic novel pretty much detailed a relationship between a couple (Clark Kent and Lois) in an extremely positive and natural way, then why do they barely do that with other superhero comic books?  I am not saying that there are no good relationships in superhero comics (trust me, I have seen plenty of great relationships), it is just that I keep seeing good relationships getting broken up for no apparent reason other than for the sake of drama and it is starting to get on my nerves.  I just wish that there were more positive relationships like Clark and Lois’s in this graphic novel where they do not break up for illogical reasons or they just live happily together with understandings between them.

*~Rant Over~*

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Superman: Secret Identity” is easily one of the greatest modern “Superman” stories ever created and one of the greatest alternative universe stories I had ever read, next to “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns!”  If you are a huge “Superman” fan, this graphic novel is definitely worth reading!

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