SECRET ORIGINS (NEW 52) VOLUME 1

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: SECRET ORIGINS (NEW 52) VOLUME 1 / AUTHOR: JEFF LEMIRE, PETE TOMASI, GREG PAK, JIMMY PALMIOTTI, AMANDA CONNER, KYLE HIGGINS / ARTIST: DOUG MAHNKE, DUSTIN NGUYEN, TREVOR MCCARTHY, BILL SIENKIEWICZ, LEE WEEKS, STEPHANE ROUX / PUBLISHER: DC / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 24TH

Secret Origins is one of DCs long-running anthology titles that served to give new readers (and curious fans) an easy way to find out about the wide variety of heroes in the DC Universe. Thanks to the recent continuity reboot, this means we can yet again start at the beginning. Again.

Secret Origins Volume 1 contains the secret origins of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Green Arrow and others. Pedants will cheerfully point out that none of these origins are terribly secret, given that all these characters are well known and have been around for decades. However, it’s nice see these old dogs do new tricks, or in this case, old tricks that we don’t see that often. Other origins include those for three of Batman’s Robins, Starfire and Harley Quinn.

Despite these stories being slightly fresher, they’re hardly original and barely do the job. The highlight is Harley Quinn, and though it’s nice to see a version of Harley in which she isn’t a victim, it still pulls its punches way too much. If it was a little bit more daring, it would have been remarkable, but alas it’s just a touch too timid. It feels as if there is a definite corporate line when it comes to the New 52, and anything remotely original or clever simply isn’t allowed.

The artwork is similarly mundane; it does feel like there is an art factory somewhere in the DC offices churning out near-identical artworks of popular superheroes. It’s a real shame, because when the individual artists get a change to showcase their skills, the results are amazing. Sadly, Secret Origins doesn’t even have any such showboating, making the whole book look quite bland. The book is frustratingly one step away from being something special all the way through.

Secret Origins Volume 1 is utterly forgettable, but a useful tool to give to the one person in English speaking world who hasn’t heard of Batman and Superman.

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