Sunday, August 29, 2010
Superman Secret Origins #6 - Origins of Awesome
The origins of Superman have been told and retold so many times that more people probably know that story more than they know the stories of the bible (to be fair, the bible doesn't have as many hot chicks, aliens, and killer robots). It's so well known that DC has gone so far as to make a whole series out of it with Smallville and it has to be doing something right because it's lasted 10 whole seasons. Between a successful TV series and nearly a century of comics, what more is there to tell? What possible reason could there be to redo a story that's been more redone than Lady Gaga's hair? Well I got two words for all you cynical skeptics out there: Geoff Johns.
It seems like so long ago, but when Geoff Johns began this mini he was basically tapping a well that by all accounts should be dryer than Betty Ford's pussy. If it were any other writer there wouldn't be a whole lot of reason to pick up this story, but this is the guy who wrote Blackest Night. This is one of DC's most prolific writers of the past decade. If anyone could take the Superman Origins story and make it awesome again, it's Geoff Johns. And wouldn't you know it? He did just that.
The first five issues of Superman Origins condense much of young Kal-El's life down to a few simple comics. So even if you didn't know shit about Superman (seriously, what cave complex must you live in not to know in this day and age?) you could pick this up and learn everything there is to know. Geoff Johns keeps it focused, but he's always been big about doing the little things. In this series he's explained how Clark got his glasses, how he helped his mother make his suit, and how he first got adjusted to the big city of Metropolis. In addition, Johns spent plenty of time fleshing out characters like Lex Luther, Lois Lane, and Jimmy. Each character was not only perfectly developed, but they were fit into a more modern context. The Daily Planet in this series was a failing newspaper that had been muscled out because Lex Luther had gained so much influence in the city that he crushed anybody who didn't acknowledge how big his dick was. That all changed when Superman entered the picture. Suddenly, Luther's balls aren't the biggest in the world anymore. Superman not only busts up his latest toy for the military, he confronts the military and a very pissy General Lane (yeah, the same General Lane that sired Lois). At this point in the saga Superman is still very unsure of what he's going to do. People still fear him and he's not sure he's doing the right thing. He's got the military gunning for him and Luther looking to upstage him. The final issue is what brings it all together. It's been delayed more than a Guns n' Roses album, but for writers like Geoff Johns the wait is usually worth it.
The paths of the major characters start crossing in the first few pages with General Lane storming the Daily Planet. Apparently, a newspaper is now a threat to national security. I know there's that whole freedom of the press thingy, but I suppose that went out of style in General Lane's universe. He wants to bring Superman in and since he keeps showing up for the Daily Planet, he figures he might as well take it over. I don't get his logic either. It seems like something Ghengis Khan would do. Something looks like a problem. Conquer it! He uses the whole notion of Superman being an alien to justify this. Because that makes perfect sense. Just tell everybody that the guys an alien and they'll beg for the government to save them. Wait...never mind, I was thinking about bank bailouts. My mistake!
So General Lane is dedicating a fair share of his time and effort to be a prick while a weakened Superman is trying to fight off some heavily armed soldiers looking to give him the Iraq treatment. In the previous issue he was weakened by kryptonite in a battle with John Corban, who was wielding Lex Luther's latest alien killing toy. It didn't exactly pan out. The machine kinda exploded on him, kinda being a relative term of course. But it did weaken Superman to the point where he could be hurt and now he's struggling to get away from the guys looking to send him to Area 51 for anal probing while trying not to hurt these guys in the process. Let's face it, these soldiers are under General Lane's orders. They're just carrying out the man's douch-baggery for him. Even so, a weakened Superman is still strong enough to lift a fucking tank and that shows more than anything that shooting him is about as effective as hugging him.
Even if Superman isn't going to be taken down by Lane's men, the guy is still right up there with Luther in terms of being a total asshole. He basically says the war is won. He gives a George W. Bush style Mission Accomplished speech, saying Superman can be hurt and because of that they're taking him down. He's a threat the same way terrorists in shit-filled caves are a threat so he must be taken down. Not to leave it there, he demands the Daily Planet be shut down and everything confiscated because when it comes to being an asshole and a shitty father, you just have to go the extra distance. Either General Lane learned from George W. Bush or Bush learned from him.
Since Lois isn't exactly a Daddy's girl, she doesn't stand for this. In fact, she blows her old man off and essentially gives him the slip with Jimmy's help. The only surprising thing here is that General Lane seemed to assume she would listen to him. Seriously, how many rebellious women listen to their father's when they act like such grade-A assholes? The only real surprise was she didn't knee him in the balls before she slipped out.
She and Jimmy are forced to catch up with Superman, who is still in the process of fighting off the military. He seems to be doing okay for a brief moment. Even an M-16 is about as effective as a squirt gun with the proper application of ice breath and invulnerability. Since this fight is getting too easy for him, somebody steps up to add some extra challenge. That somebody is Metallo. However, this isn't the same Metallo most people are probably familiar with. This is more Metallo's earlier beta version, that also happened to look more gay than Elton John's closet.
Apparently, Lex Luther didn't take the time to make him look less ridiculous when he put Corban back together after the fight in the previous issue. Remarkably, this doesn't bother Corban because now he's super strong and can actually fight back against the guy who knocked down his manhood at least seventy million pegs earlier. Needless to say, this makes him even more of a douche than before. Only this time he's a douche that can hit back. So Superman can finally stop being so careful like he was with the soldiers and show that he has some balls as well. Unlike Corban, he doesn't need a metal body suit to prop them up.
It seems like it could be a fair fight for a while. Then Lois catches up to the action and gives Superman a much needed warning. She tells him they have kryptonite and it will kill him if he stays. This being the guy that got her so hot and giddy in some earlier issues, that's the last thing she wants to see. Usually when you get a warning from a hot woman, that's a pretty reason to make note of it. However, this is Superman we're talking about here. Lois could have breasts the size of watermelons and he wouldn't back down from a battle like this.
John sees that and since he had the hots for Lois earlier as well, he's even more pissed off. It's one thing to immaculate him. It's quite another to have the affections of the woman he wants to bone. So once again, pussy drives a man over the edge and Metallo goes for the kill. Even though he's a total asshole, he looks pretty badass in the process.
Badass or not, Superman doesn't take kindly to him threatening civilians, throwing aside his fellow soldiers, and acting like a jerk to a lady. Those are all no-nos in Superman's book so he does what he does best. Whereas most butchy superheroes would go on a testosterone driven tirade that makes for some bloody, mindless spectacle Superman goes for a more subtle approach. First he covers that kryptonite rock of his by melting a sewer cover in mid flight. Seriously, he's Superman. He can do this shit. Then he grabs Metallo and flies up him up a super high altitude. Remember, this is Metallo the beta version. He's still part human, meaning he has lungs. So when he gets to an altitude where air is abundant as Lindsey Lohan's innocence he shuts down. He doesn't make a last stand either. He just passes out as if he had one too many shots of tequila. At the very least he won't be hung over and need to pray to the porcelain god (the toilet for all you sober types) the next morning.
So Superman returns to the surface and you think most would be grateful that he stopped a crazy half-human, half-robot, full douche-bag from going on a rampage. But that's still not enough for General Lane. Apparently, saving lives isn't enough for him. He still wants to bring him in. That doesn't go over well with the people who actually have good vision. They respond by throwing beer bottles and rocks at Lane and his soldiers. He didn't get the memo that the whole supporting the troops thing only applies troops that aren't complete assholes.
Superman has to step in once again, this time using his words instead of his muscles. That may sound lame, but what he says is profound. He tells everyone he is not a savior. He does what he does because he has a gift. That's all he's doing. He's using his gifts to make the world better. Everyone else should do that too. They shouldn't rely on him or assholes like Lex Luther to do it for them. Sure, he may still have the edge with the whole flight, super strength, super speed, and invulnerability. But everybody has gifts on their own level. It's a powerful message and he presents it in a way that won't make most readers roll their eyes. Only the cynical dickheads will still do that and that's their problem.
His little speech seems to soothe things over. He's inspired people in a way Glenn Beck only bitches about. However, he's still not done. He has to pay one last visit to the only guy who is more of an asshole than General Lane. Even though Lane tried to arrest Superman, Luther tried to fucking kill him with Metallo. Needless to say, he's pissed. That ego and narcissism of his simply cannot take being upstaged. He knows he can't compete with an alien of Superman's power. If anyone is going to worship anyone on Earth, Luther wants it to be him.
That's not going to fly with Superman though. He makes it clear that Luther's ego is not enough to make him stop. Earth is his home now even though he wasn't born on it. That means he's going to defend it from assholes like Luther who try to carry on like the planet was made specifically to suck his dick. It's a powerful moment, thus setting the tone for the epic rivalry that will consume the Superman saga for many years to come. It's the first time Luther's really been humbled and it's truly a sight to behold.
So Superman has saved the day, won the hearts of Metropolis, and upstaged Lex Luthor. He's done everything he's had to do in order to earn the moniker of Superman. That leaves only one more triumph to attain and it involves something with breasts.
The next day after the Daily Planet prints their landmark "Superman Here To Stay" article, Lois meets up with the big man for a nice moment. This guy didn't just save her life and give the city hope. He made her father look like a total tool. She's pretty much inclined to lift up her skirt, give him her panties, and throw herself at him pussy first. She's a bit more subtle about it though. They talk about things like partnerships and working together. Superman is too polite to imply that they should bump uglies or show her what a Kryptonian Kreamer is, but Lois seems to get the message. It would have made for a nice romantic moment if Jimmy didn't show up to cockblock the whole thing.
Despite the interference, Superman is still nice enough to say goodbye and fix the spinning ball on the top of the Daily Planet as well. When he flies off he leaves both Lois and Jimmy hopeful, although Lois probably has to change her panties at this point. It's another one of those subtle ways to set the stage for what's going to become the most epic romance in comics. There's a lot less subtlety with Luther who finds that after his chat with Superman, he no longer has such an adoring public waiting for him. It also shows in the way the people of Metropolis look up in the sky.
Since this is an origins comic, it can't happen all at once. However, Geoff Johns makes enough happen to really highlight how strong it is. It's basically how he sets up the ending of the comic. It's truly the end of the beginning and the beginning of the awesome that would eventually become the Superman saga.
So there you have it! In six issues Geoff Johns condenses the entire origins of Superman into a saga that spans his childhood, his teen years, his early adulthood, and his eventual role as the Man of Steel. It's a story that feels a lot longer than it really was. It's not easy to capture the epic nature of the Superman story in 600 issues let alone 6. But Geoff John does it and does it masterfully.
There really isn't a whole lot of negative things you can say about this series. The only real drawback is that since this is an origin story, most learned readers already know how it's going to end. Superman will save the day, humiliate Lex Luther, and make Lois all hot in her panties. There aren't too many surprises in that respect, but since the story is told so well it really doesn't matter. It's still a pleasure to follow and every character is perfectly one. The dialogue is crisp and has a very believable and realistic feel to it. The characters don't talk as if they're in the 1930s when Superman first came out. They talk like regular people talk with their own distinct tone and persona. If the Superman series began in 2000 this is what it would be and it works wonderfully.
Having only recently gotten back into Superman comics, this series reminds me of why the Man of Steel is so awesome. This origins story is a must-have for any DC fan or comic fan in general. There's so much to like about it and there's so much to enjoy. I can't give this book anything less than a perfect 5 out of 5, a perfect 10, and A+ and whatever other accolades I can give a comic. If you're a Superman fan, get this book! It will be a crown jewel in your collection. It took a while to come together, but when it did it was nothing short of super. Nuff said!