Superman: Secret Identity
by Kurt Busiek & Stuart Immonen
Chance are you've already read several glowing reviews of this story, so I'll just say that those reviews are right: this is one of the best Superman stories in many years. Inspired by a nearly two-decades old story from DC Comics Presents about the Superboy of Earth-Prime, Busiek spins the tale of a real-world Clark Kent. Young Kent is teased about his name, but is surprised when he unexpectedly develops the super powers of his namesake. But instead of going public, Clark keeps his powers a secret, even as his life follows a vaguely parallel path as that of the fictional Clark Kent. Each chapter in the story shows us Clark at a different point in his life, and we follow his attempt to live a normal life while trying to help others in secret. Art-wise, Immonen turns in one of the best outings of his career, and the realism he brings to a story about a guy with super-powers fits the story perfectly. All told, it's an uplifting story that celebrates the triumph of living a good fulfilling life.
Rating: 4 (of 5)
Batman: Hong Kong
by Doug Moench & Tony Wong
After a series of death-by-snake-bite events are broadcast over the Internet, originating from both Gotham City and Hong Kong, Batman travels to the former British colony to uncover the mastermind, and ends up inspiring the birth of the Night Dragon, an armor-clad vigilante. The main attraction here is the art of superstar Hong Kong artist Tony Wong, and he certainly gets the chance to show his stuff. It's an odd combination of quasi-painted art and highly detailed pen-and-ink, usually on the same page, where some panels are painted and others are traditionally drawn. It's a method that emphasizes some panels over the others and makes for an interesting reading experience. The story by Moench is pretty much by-the-numbers. It takes little advantage of the opportunities that could be provided by setting the story in one of the most unique cities in the world, and the mystery of who is behind the killings is painfully obvious. Still, the purpose of the story was to give Wong cool things to draw, and in that is succeeds.
Rating: 3 (of 5)