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When an umpteenth writer is assigned to come up with a new twist on a very popular character or any other pop culture property, their challenge will always be to find a new approach to the familiar, all without necessarily alienating the original fanbase which made said property a classic to begin with. Of course, when it comes to the printed pages of DC Comics, there’s a bit more flexibility.
Conceived as a story which rests outside of DC’s current continuity, Secret Identity takes a look at the inevitable repercussions caused by a normal human family from our world, the Kents (from Kansas, no less, just not Smallville), as they give birth to a healthy boy, only to name him Clark, after the famous DC character whose alter-ego is Superman.
Growing up in a small town where he is constantly ridiculed for his name and made the butt of so many Superman-related jokes as a result, young Clark prefers to spend his time alone, rather than be persecuted by his high school peers or given yet another Supes-related birthday gift. Having become quite used to being made fun of because of his name (even though his parents aren’t Martha and Jonathan, like in the comics), teenage Clark is astounded to wake up floating mid-air during a solitary camping trip, discovering that he may in fact possess the same abilities as his comic-book namesake.
Paralyzed by the very fact this might be discovered by the public, or even worse, the government and military, Clark does everything he can to conceal these new abilities, unsure of how he obtained them, either by some freak occurrence of nature or simply a rare genetic mutation. When Clark ends up saving the lives of nearby townspeople, the secret of the existence of a Super-Man living on Earth becomes a leading news story, though no one makes the connection with the young Kansas teen. The government eventually tricks Clark into capture, but don’t get their chance to examine him medically, as the young powered lad escapes custody and disappears again. Much of the rest of this story originally released in four issues deals with Clark’s growing popularity as a real-life hero, his self-doubt as to how safe he can keep himself and his growing family while having no viable explanation for his powers, as well as the ethical implications of raising children who may or may not share his new abilities, lest they too be hounded by the government into some potential servitude in the name of freedom. This faux true story about whether a real-life human with Kryptonian powers could live among us is an interesting once indeed.
By doing away with an alien origin and allowing its central character the ability to feel and age brings a much needed refreshing take on the famous red caped hero.


Kurt Busiek knows how to grab the essentials and twist them just a little out of shape, avoiding obvious similes without steering completely clear of familiar elements. Superman Secret Identity is easily one of the more original and fun stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading and reviewing of late. Enter your email address to subscribe to me and get notified the minute a new review or contest comes up!
A lively account of life on the front lines in the fight against the world’s worst diseases. A terrific ten-year-old noir novel is given a new paperback edition on the occasion of its translation to the Hollywood screen. Un ex-agent de la CIA doit faire equipe avec un jeune membre du FBI, pour arreter un assassin russe.
Superman: Secret Identity is a comic book miniseries, taking place in an alternate reality in which all the familiar DC comics superheroes are just comic book characters, much like on Earth-Prime. According to Kurt Busiek, the writer, the inspiration for the main character came from Superboy of Earth-Prime.
Writer Kurt Busiek (Astro City) has found another original means of retelling the classic origin story of Superman, all without pissing off the masses.
Add to this the fact that DC Comics and it’s flagship icon is mentioned in context throughout the course of the story, and you find yourself with a tale that breaks down the fourth wall while using the very knowledge of Superman as a work of fiction to much effect.
After all, should any of us learn overnight that not only can we fly, but we can also lift incredible weights, fly into space, use x-ray and heat vision and hear conversations across long distances, would we not also want to help people in need, basking in the gratitude and recognition that comes with such heroic deeds?


Making Lois a girl of Indian descent rather than the Army brat known in the comics, is simply a stroke of genius.
While he sticks to the familiar red yellow and blue of the Superman costume when needed, Immonen isn’t afraid to experiment with color in otherwise mundane events within the story. I can only hope to see more of this type of story, though DC does boast a healthy list of similarly different tales in its Elseworlds brand. One boy, whose name is Clark Kent, discovers that he has Superman's superpowers, for some unknown reason.
The result is a clever meta approach to the subject matter while involving our own culture in the process. After all, how hard would it be for him to walk into any comic book store and grab a shirt right off the DC shelves, or even better, find himself a full-size Halloween costume to boot? All the same, this excellently told tale is for all of us who at one point in our lives, tied up a red towel around our necks and pretended we were Superman, if only for an afternoon. There isn’t even anything to tell Superman-newcomers that this might be worth their while to explore.
All his life, this has naturally made him the object of gentle mockery: his friends and acquaintances are constantly teasing him about secretly being Superman.



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