Review: Secret Origins #1
With many fans yearning for how the New 52 version of our favorite heroes came to be, DC decided to an ongoing to fill that void. Secret Origin is a great idea, but needs some work to be a can’t miss title.
#1 gives us the origins of Superman, Robin, and Supergirl. Only one of those truly needed to be told. Superman is one character who does not need his origin to be told again. Much like Batman and Spider-Man, his story is so ingrained in pop culture that anyone with a fleeting knowledge of comics will know how Superman came to be. It’s lovingly written by Greg Pak, who has been the Superman whisperer these days. Ma Kent and Lara’s back in forth interior dialogue really give the feeling that Superman is destined for great things. The changes made to his origin, Ma and Pa Kent dying, have been known for a while so it doesn’t reveal any secrets of the New 52 or solve any of the continuity problems. Lee Weeks classic pencil adds to the great story telling. Much like Superman himself, the pencils are clean and precise. The thin line work and light inks make the artwork beautiful. The origin isn’t necessary, but at least it’s a great read and helps sooth the $4.99 price.
Robin’s origin by Kyle Higgins and Doug Mahnke is the best of the bunch. Higgins hits all the marks perfectly for what makes Robin different than Batman. Higgins doesn’t alter Robin’s origin much beside his age, which irons the wrinkle of how long Dick was Robin before becoming Nightwing. Dick is older and didn’t need to spend as much time as Robin, and as he seems to move on from his parent’s death a little quicker than pre-New 52. Higgins has been the best Nightwing writer in the New 52, so it comes as no surprise that he adds a lot of nuances to this Robin. Mahnke’s artwork is solid as always. He has always been known for penciling dark and disturbing books, but his work here is rather lighthearted.
Supergirl’s origin flat out didn’t need to be told. It’s been covered quite a bit in the Supergirl ongoing that she could have been replaced for someone fans want more. While her origin is different enough than her original that it is worth telling, she didn’t need to be told in #1. Tony Bedard, the current writer on Supergirl, writes an adequate origin story. It would have improved the story if Superman wasn’t featured as heavily, as Kara is her own hero at this point in the New 52. The weird battle at the end is completely unnecessary and doesn’t impact her origin at all. Paulo Siqueira’s pencils are good, although I still notice him doing the weird exclamation points around people when they are surprised. It takes me out of the moment every time.
The idea for Secret Origin is a great response to fans wanting to more about these characters. The 5 year timeline that the New 52 reboot uses can be very confusing and has left a lot of things unanswered. But this series has an expiration date as all the big name characters have their stories told. Eventually they’ll run out of interesting characters to give origins too or start stepping n their own toes in terms of content. Next month’s issue has Batman, Aquaman, and Starfire. Batman’s is unlikely to change, while Aquaman’s will probably be like Superman’s origin here. Cool to read but ultimately unnecessary.
Secret Origins #1 gets 3.5/5.
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