The Superman Series has gotten off to a flying start (excuse the pun). After a very enjoyable first chapter, (and one that bettered Grant Morrisson’s sister series ‘Action Comics’) I’m extremely excited to see what’s next in store for the Man Of Steel.
Throughout this review, I will be discussing the second volume in the saga: ‘Secrets and Lies’ in full detail so there will be heavy spoilers. It may be worth skipping to the score now if you don’t want things ruined but for everyone else, let’s dive into Superman: Secrets And Lies!
The book opens with metropolis being attacked by an alien robot, yada yada yada. Turns out that Helspont (in case you haven’t guessed by the name alone, he’s the villain) has crash-landed on the planet and wishes to take down Superman and enslave Earth.
The two battle at his fortress and are forced into a stalemate in which Helspont ‘may or may not have been defeated’ (spoiler alert – he hasn’t been).
The book isn’t exactly going to win any Eisner awards for originality and I took an instant dislike to just how by the numbers that the storyline was. This predictability made the introductory issues a bore to read and the book quickly became a drag.
‘I know who Superman is’
Set against the backdrop of this the story of a freelance photographer who apparently knows Superman’s secret identity. We quickly learn it’s a case of mistaken identity and this strange turn massively strips the narrative of any tension that could have been present.
It’s a pretty dismal two arc story that doesn’t really give you any insight into Superman’s fear of losing his identity, nor does it take any real risks and because of this, the midsection of the book feels hollow and needless.
The final arc of the book revolves around Superman battling a Predator-esque villain in the streets of Metropolis. Unlike the work it is clearly derivative of, The Blood storyline, lacks the fear and survivalist nature that is needed in a storyline like this.
Action is at the forefront of the work but with little to endear us to the characters, it becomes extremely shallow. I actually found myself on the villain’s side as his plight seemed more relatable than the Man Of Steel’s. Superman blunders his way through and feels idiotic in some of his choices.
There is an interesting backdrop of Clark dating Lois’ sister, however, with the hindsight that this won’t go anywhere, the relationship ultimately becomes a slight waste of time.
That’s pretty much my biggest problem with the graphic novel. Everything is so short lived and unnecessary to the point that it all feels inconsequential. If one storyline had spanned the entire book then perhaps it would have been more engaging, however, each plot that appears feels like it has no real ramifications and ultimately strips the work of any weight that it could have.
Secrets In Lies is a massive misstep and completely drops the quality of the first book. The work has zero gravitas to it and feels more like a list of z-list stories that DC just had lying around for when they ran out of ideas.
Each chapter is as dull as the one that preceded it and there is very little to recommend here.
Overall I can score it no higher than a…