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Review: Superman #18 (2019) Does Superman's Secret Identity Matter?

Read this review to find out if Superman #18 is worth buying.

About Superman #18

  • Written by Jody Houser
  • Artwork by Ivan Reis
  • Inking by Joe Prado
  • Color by Alex Sinclair
  • Synopsis: "With Superman’s family scattered across the galaxy, our hero must confront some of his greatest concerns about himself and his place in the galaxy. Legendary artist Ivan Reis joins writer Brian Michael Bendis as they introduce the biggest change in the Man of Steel’s life ever!"
  • On Sale Date: December 11, 2019
  • U.S. Price: $3.99
If you want to avoid spoilers for this comic then skip to the overall section at the end.

Warning: Spoilers for Superman #18

Recap: Superman #18

Superman #18 opens with Superman listening in to a press conference before dropping to the podium. Then it flashbacks to a week before when he mediated the first official gathering of the "United Planets". After the interplanetary fight that almost broke out in Superman #17 and the number of times he's brokered peace it sounds like a great idea.

While he's there he takes Adam Strange aside and talks to him about his decision to reveal his identity. After everything that had been happening with his son aging and moving to the future, his father Jor-El's lies revealed and the death of Jor-El and Lois' father Sam Lane he's been through a lot. The two agree it's normal for him to feel overwhelmed.

But does Superman really need a secret? Now he's not sure. Strange makes a hilarious guess that Superman is really Batman. This whole scene is well-paced and emphasizes Strange's humor without taking away from the poignancy of the moment. The story does a bit of a retcon implying that the Clark Kent persona was his father and adopted parent's idea. Historically it was always Superman's idea, but the current history does line up with that.

Clark Kent returns to his job as a reporter for The Daily Planet. He thinks about how Superman has affected his life through a series of wordless panels. It's moving. Finally, he goes to see the editor Perry White. Some beautifully well-done panels show him reveal his secret and Perry gives him a big hug.

Perry White has often been shown as a surrogate father for Clark. He and Lois even named their son after him. It makes you misty-eyed to think of the evolution of their relationship. 

After that, Superman takes Jimmy Olsen to the roof. Then he puts on his glasses. Jimmy says he doesn't get it. He just looks like "Superman with glasses". Turns out it's a prank and Lois already told him. 

Superman goes to see his wife Lois Lane. She reminds him Jimmy has been her friend before Clark even came to Metropolis. She had a right to tell him first. Then Lois tells him her article on the reveal is complete and mentally had been written since their honeymoon.

Cutting back to present day Superman reveals his secret on international television. Superman is really Clark Kent. There's a nice montage of people around the world reacting to the news. He tells them that standing for truth and hope means he can't hide behind a secret identity anymore. Superman doesn't know what's going to happen now but thanks everyone for inspiring him and flies away.

Then it cuts to the Legion of Doom where Cheetara is laughing her head off. Brainiac screams at the smartest man in the world "How did you NOT see this coming?!". Luthor looks like he's paralyzed with rage. You know he's about to pop off.

This isn't the first time Superman revealed his identity.. None has been permanent, so who knows if Superman will keep his secret public for long. The comic implies it's no big deal. In this age of Twitter and cell phones does it really matter? Just like Superman we don't know what will happen next.

Overall: Borrow Superman #18

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars

The build-up to the latest issue of Superman has been coming for a while. Was it worth the wait? Yes and no. The best part is the reminder that Superman's friends are important to him. While Superman is the "man of steel" he wears his heart on his sleeve. Jody Houser writes these moments perfectly. They're touching and moving.

On the other hand, the build-up to the reveal feels weak considering all the hype. There are no big moments in the comic and no big fight scenes. Superman #18 sets up the conflict but there's no pay off yet. The art is good and the writing well-done but it feels small. That's disappointing since this reveal is decades in the making.

Ivan Reis' pencils are reminiscent of Joe Kubert and have strong lines and facial expressions. The inking by Joe Prado is powerful and the deep shadows punctuate many of the panels. Alex Sinclair's color palette is vibrant and emotive as it goes from the brightness in space to the dark offices of Perry White. Well-done. I look forward to the upcoming issue when they can shine more.

The comic is good. But it remains to be seen if it will be a landmark issue or just another moment in Superman history. He had a mullet once but no one cares about that now. Maybe no one will care that Superman revealed his secret. Maybe it's not important after all.

Buy Superman #18 at your local comic book shop or online at Comixology

Click the link for more of our comic book reviews.

About the Author
Maurice Mitchell has been a passionate science-fiction fan of movies, television, books, and comics since age five. He and his twin brother Nigel created the site "The Geek Twins" to share that passion. Maurice has written and created infographics for sites like The Geek Twins and About.com. His work has been featured on sites like Business Insider, io9 Slashfilm and more.
Read more of his posts | Follow him on Twitter @Mauricem1972 

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