Monday, September 1, 2014

Secret Origins #5 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Marv Wolfman, Scott Lobdell, Jeff Parker
Art By: Edgar Salazar, Jack Herbert, Daniel HDR
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: August 27, 2014

Here We Go Again

We've got another thrilling issue of origin stories that most people that read DC Comics know, but for this issue we have ourselves a change.  That's right, it looks like DC Comics has finally taken my advice (Yeah it's my advice, prove me wrong) and put out an issue that doesn't focus on top tier characters.  Now for some, these are fighting words because this issues's first story focuses on Cyborg, one of the founding members of the New 52's Justice League.  But let's be honest with ourselves here, Cyborg is DC Comics' red headed step child.  Every member of the Justice League has one or more titles dedicated to them and Cyborg is still left out in the cold.  Hell even Aquaman has two titles.  We'll also be looking at the origin of Red Hood, who is one of my favorite characters and Mera, which is a great choice to have a origin story for because who the hell outside of Aquaman fans knows that info?  So let's dive into the first issue of Secret Origins that seems to have a point.

Explain It!:

Our first story begins at S.T.A.R. Labs where Cyborg and his father seem to be arguing very loudly about an experiment they're running.  The origin part begins when Cyborg overhears a scientist make a comment to a colleague that they sure argue a lot and the other scientist tells them that hey are father and son and that they really love each other.  This sparks the flashback origin tale, where Cyborg thinks back to a time when his father and him weren't so close.  You probably know the story about how Dr. Stone wanted his son to follow in his footsteps and all Victor wanted to do was to be loved by his adoring fans as he conquered the football field.  Eventually the two would stop speaking all together and when Victor went to speak to his father one fateful night at his lab, Victor would be caught in an opening Boom Tube that destroyed his body.  Showing his true love for his son, Dr. Stone would break S.T.A.R. Labs protocol and save his son's life using alien technology in the heavily secured Red Room and Victor would become one of the founding members of the Justice League, saving Earth from the forces of Darkseid.  You know it's the classic coming of age tale, where father and son finally bond over cybernetic parts and an alien invasion.

Father Son Bonding Time
Personally I loved this story and it's probably because like Victor, I had a absentee father growing up and found out that when I really needed my father he was there like Dr. Stone.  Now it might not have to do with cybernetic parts saving my life, but it's actually pretty close.  A wonderful origin story that hopefully will lead to Cyborg getting his own title in the future.

Next on the origin rehashing, we have Red Hood narrating his time as the second Robin and ultimately becoming the Red Hood after his resurrection.  The story begins after Jason Todd's mother overdosed and his father died in jail and our young soon to be hero is out on the streets of Gotham raising hell.  Eventually Batman finds him and sees something in the boy and as far as Jason knows, Batman got Bruce Wayne to take him in.  To Jason's surprise Bruce shows him the Batcave and wants him to fill the side kick role he has an opening for and Jason begins learning everything he'll need to know to be under the wing of Batman.  As most DC fans know, Jason's rage would get the better of him and that leads us to a really cool scene where Bruce and Jason are standing in front of Thomas and Martha Wayne's graves.  Jason tells Bruce that they are different and he'll never be him and that the whole point of Jason becoming Robin wasn't about Bruce fixing him, it was about Bruce fixing himself.  Jason walks away and the narrative tells us that Bruce never denied it.  Really cool.

Well this little family argument would lead Jason down the path of being set up by his mother and the Joker killing him a la A Death In The Family.  Now I'm all good with this origin story so far, but after Jason's death it becomes a little confusing for me.  Originally we had Jason resurrecting because of the Crisis and then it was because he was placed in a Lazarus Pit, but here we have what seems like both.  Jason awakens in his grave for no reason at all and after he digs his way out, Talia Al'Ghul finds him and places him in a Lazarus Pit.

Well after a proper mystical assassin training from Ducra, Jason makes his way back to Gotham to seek his revenge against the man that killed him and the mentor that let the man that killed him get away with it.  Besides for the resurrection bit, I rather enjoyed this origin story, but being a fan of the character pretty much meant that I already knew what I was getting before I read it.  That's the real problem with this series.

For our third and final origin story we'll take a look at Mera, the lady love of Aquaman and see what drove her from her people and into the arms of the King of Atlantis.  Mera being the daughter of the King of Xebel and having the water shaping power was tasked with infiltrating Atlantis and killing their King for exiling the Xebel people.  Now there is a custom where the head of the military of Xebel marries into the royal family and becomes the future King, inheriting the water shaping ability and he feels that sending Mera instead of himself is just a way to keep the two apart longer.  Either way, Mera doesn't seem to keen on marrying Nereus, so he might be right in his suspicions.  Before she leaves her father gives her a shell of sounds that belonged to her dead mother and that she left a message for Mera within it and that she's to listen to it after she leaves Xebel.  So with the power of the King helping her, Mera breaks free the boundaries keeping the Xebel people within the Bermuda Triangle and begins her journey to find Atlantis.  At first Mera can't find anything, but eventually learns of the man known to the surface dwellers as Aquaman and when she finally finds him, she becomes enamored with the King of Atlantis.

As the two spend more time together and Mera forgets her mission, she finally remembers to listen to the message from her mother within the shell of sounds.  It seems that her mother and father set this up for Mera to become free of the warrior race of Xebel and the real mission for her is to achieve her independence and freedom.  This was a rather nice story and gave a little background into her New 52 re-imagining.  Now I haven't been keeping up with Aquaman, but I do know that she returned to Xebel and was considered a traitor for not achieving her task, but whether or not any of this came through in that story, I have no idea.  So if it was, it's good to see it here for people who haven't been following Aquaman and if it wasn't, well that's a secret origin if I ever saw one.  Either way, this was a great character to choose for this series.

That's it for this month's Secret Origins, come back in October as we take a look at the supposed secret origins of Wonder Woman, Deadman and Sinstro.  See you then.

Bits and Pieces:

While I'm trying to hold off passing true judgment on this book (I say true judgement because I have been known to bitch about it from time to time) I really want to see what this series becomes after we're done dealing with the founding members of the Justice League and it focuses on more lower tier characters.  Now that being said, I have to say that this issue seems to be on the right track with it's trio of characters.  While Cyborg is a founding member of the League, he is also the one that gets the shaft more than anyone else and I simply enjoy seeing him in comics.  Great stories all around except for a discrepancy I have with Red Hood's tale.  Really just pick and choose your issues here for characters you want to get to know better, as for collecting this series as a whole, I don't really see the point.


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