Superman: Secret Identity, by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen, is a mature and sophisticated graphic novel that provides a fresh twist on the story of Superman. This time, we follow Clark Kent, but not the one you would usually know from the comics. This is just a regular guy who’s named after Superman’s secret identity. You see, Secret Identity takes place in the real world, where Superman is just a comic book character. This air of authenticity is what makes the world and the characters so relatable. However, this wouldn’t be Superman without the powers, and Clark soon discovers this, as he awakes to find himself with all the powers of the actual Superman. From this setup, the series follows Clark through four stages of his life, as he deals with the responsibilities and consequences of these abilities. The characters of this story are so well-written that they truly feel like real people. Clark Kent is a kid, who’s just tired of being compared to Superman. He’s not a stereotypical character, in that he can be classified as a “Nerd” or a “Jock”. Instead, Clark is unique and shines as an individual. Additionally, there comes a love interest into play, and let’s just say, she plays a huge part in the later portions of the story. However, the main focus is on Clark, as it should be.
Another outstanding part of the graphic novel is the stellar artwork which is slick and realistic in tone. It’s perfect for the type of story and it lends a unique style to Secret Identity, which gives off elements of darkness as well as a modern vibe. The dialogue is written from Clark’s point of view, and most of it consists of internal speech. The reader really gets to delve into the mind of the main character and allows you to further share his feelings. The story being divided into different stages of life was a smart decision, and allows each part to feel unique and different.
I would totally recommend this book to any super hero and comic book fans. Superman: Secret Identity is certainly different from other mainstream titles. It certainly doesn’t have any huge villains, and doesn’t focus on action, but that’s not the point of this story. As long as you don’t mind a slower paced, adult story, Secret Identity will surely become one of your favourites.