Writer: Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens
Art: Dan Jurgens
Publisher: DC Comics
It’s nice to have Superman feel a little more Supermany than he did early on the New 52 re-launch. He’s still not quite the same character, but it seems like there’s finally a good balance between the old and the new. Superman #9 continues this trend with an issue that introduces a bunch of new plot threads, but doesn’t (naturally) provide any resolution for them, or even a great amount of context. That’s alright, because we get some insights on how people feel about the whole idea of Superman having a secret identity and more snapshots into what goes through Clark’s head as he does his whole Superman thing.
A mystery is introduced here that doesn’t gain much traction or really give any hints as to what it’s about, but it has plenty of intrigue about it. The majority of the issue revolves around Superman’s identity. Does someone know who Superman is when he isn’t Superman? Why would Superman even want to blend in as a “normal human”? What happens when his secret identity is revealed? What are the implications of having a god-like person such as Superman “walking among us”? These are all good questions. There’s often been a lot of debate and jokes about how a pair of glasses could ever be an effective disguise, and some possible answers to that are provided in these discussions. Chief among them; who would ever suspect an amazing being like Superman to want to try and blend in as a normal human? Perhaps Clark’s disguise works so well because most people aren’t looking for Superman to try and disguise who he is.
I think that’s also why a lot of people have trouble accepting Jesus for who he claimed he was. In fact, it was those claims that got him into so much trouble. “‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’” (John 10:33) That’s just one example of Jesus’ claims causing trouble. Quite plainly; Jesus claimed to be God. People have a hard time accepting that, that Jesus was literally God in the flesh and that he walked among us. Many of their contentions are the same as those who have a hard time accepting that Superman would want a secret identity. Why would infinite God confine himself into a finite being? Why would he want to dwell among lowly humans? It’s all just too crazy to believe; and yet it did happen. Jesus was very clear about why he was here; because God loves humanity and wanted to set things right for us to once again enjoy a personal relationship with him (see John 3:16, or actually, the whole chapter for that matter). And the real crazy thing is that Jesus didn’t try to hide who he was; he didn’t use a secret identity. He was completely upfront about it, even displayed many signs and wonders to confirm it, and people still had (and have) a hard time accepting it. When people don’t want to accept that God or super heroes would want to walk among them, then even a simple pair of glasses makes for a fool-proof disguise. Or in Jesus’ case, even the most convincing proofs still aren’t proof enough.
So Superman continues to feel more like Superman in… uh… Superman(that’s a lot of Superman’s in one sentence, isn’t it?). Issue # 9 suffers the usual problems of one that’s introducing new story arcs without giving away too much about what they are and where they’ll take us. Still, there’s some fun character work here, and that whole great discussion about the secret identity thing that leads to some surprising and fun places. So all-in-all, not bad.
Score: 4 of 7
A BIG thanks to Astro-Zombies for providing the material for this review. Learn more about them at astrozombies.com.