By Ray Fawkes, Jeff Parker, Scott Lobdell, Dustin Nguyen, Alvaro Martinez, Paulo Siqueira, John Kalisz, Rain Beredo & Pete Pantazis
Secret Origins is a new series by DC showcasing the origins of their greatest heroes and villains. This month’s issue delves into the early days of Batman, Aquaman and Starfire. While it is certainly a good idea to present the origins of their favorite characters to new audiences, DC falls short when trying to appeal to frequent readers who are all to familiar with these characters already.
Batman may have one of the most recognizable origins in comics, which was still enjoyable to read, as Ray Fawkes put readers into the mind of Bruce Wayne more so than in previous incarnations. There were a few interesting twists like the death of the Wayne’s being connected to the corruption and downfall of Gotham, and the nightmares Bruce had about bats taking his parents away, being connected to the reality that he takes criminals away as a “bat” himself. The art in this section, by Dustin Nguyen and John Kalisz, heavily focuses on the shadows and minimal usage of light, which was perfect for capturing the dark tone of Batman’s origins.
Aquaman’s section, much like Batman’s, felt all too familiar. This series promises to reveal the altered origins of these characters since the reboot of the New 52, but some characters’ origins, like Aquaman’s, have already been explored since the reboot. Jeff Parker had the difficult task of retelling Arthur’s origins that were so recently told by Geoff Johns during his run on the character. While the story is recognizable, so too is the art by Alvaro Martinez and Rain Beredo, who do well to capture the unique look of Aquman’s underwater world.
Starfire’s section may have been the most appealing of the three as her origins are rarely examined. The story explores the journey of how a young Tamaranian princess grows into a fierce, powerful warrior bent on saving her people. Paulo Siqueira’s pencils and Pete Pantazis’ colors are arguably the best and brightest of the book. The alien world of Tamaran is presented beautifully and the character designs for Starfire and the alien creatures are fun and original. Starfire’s origins were not expected to be the highlights of this issue, yet they surpassed expectations and were presented magnificently.
Secret Origins is a great place to start for fans new to DC Comics or new to the New 52, however, the stories in these first couple of issues feel very familiar, especially when dealing with popular characters like Batman and Aquaman. Perhaps the series will improve once it starts exploring the origins of lesser-knoen heroes and villains, which would at least give readers somewhat new material. The book looks to reveal the revised origins of these characters since the New 52 launch, but when their origins are only slightly altered, there isn’t much that fans haven’t seen before.