Review: Superman #18–Superman Reveals His Secret Identity

There are enormous changes headed Superman’s way. After recent events and recovering from Jor-El’s big secrets, Superman has decided to share his dual identity with the world. There will no longer be any doubt or mystery to what Superman does during his down time or how Superman manages to type out stories for the Daily Planet so quickly. Everyone will know the two are one and the same.

Superman #18 features part 1 of “The Truth.” There will be some minor spoilers below.

Superman #18 cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Alex Sinclair.

Let’s be honest, this is a slippery slope for Superman stories. Superman and Clark Kent have always been a huge part of the character. Having Superman without Clark is kind of like having Superman without his red cape. They are ingrained into each other. Is it necessary to dissolve the secret identity? Life is about change, so perhaps it’s time for the 80-year-old character to change as well.

This isn’t the first time Superman’s identity has been revealed. In fact, it happened just four years ago in a story arc also entitled “Truth.” (You can read what I wrote about about that over here). The difference now is in the execution. It’s evident from this first issue Brian Michael Bendis has different plans for how things will play out.

It doesn’t quite feel right to have Superman reveal he and Clark are the same person. Despite this feeling, it does make sense on some level. Superman has always been a champion fighting for TRUTH, justice, and the American way. With Superman having a secret identity, you could argue he is lying to the world. Obviously keeping personal details from the public isn’t necessarily lying, but some may not agree.

The main factor that sets this apart from the 2015 story is, here, it’s Superman’s decision. Through Bendis’ story and the art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Alex Sinclair, you can see Kal-El struggling with this decision. There are a lot of emotions involved. This isn’t something he decided to do on a whim. We get to witness Superman telling the important people in his life like Perry White and Jimmy Olsen personally before dropping the bombshell on the world.

After the big revelation, we also see reactions of shock and support from around the world. It’s touching to see some of Superman’s allies feeling happiness and support for him, knowing this had to be an excruciating decision for him. Although, it was a little odd to see Flash applauding or Supergirl raising her fist in the air in support when they have their own secret identities they’re keeping from the world. Even Batman gives a slight smile at the news. Perhaps they’re happy because they know this is what Superman wants.

Of course, everyone knowing the truth means Superman’s greatest enemies will know as well. We’ve already seen some of the repercussions coming up in next month’s Superman #19. There’s also the question of will Lois or even Jimmy and Perry, become targets for anyone trying to get revenge against the Man of Steel?

I may not agree with this decision on a character I’ve loved all my life, but I can’t deny that Bendis knows how to craft a compelling story. This also means the jokes about everyone being oblivious to his disguise consisting of eyeglasses can be laid to rest. It will be a crazy ride, and what happens next shouldn’t be missed. Of course the art by Reis and Prado and colors by Sinclair are so gorgeous, you can’t even consider not reading the book. Superman #18 is a major turning point in Superman’s history. It’s a touching story that any Superman fan should read, especially for the reaction on the final page.

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