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Shades of For All Seasons
on October 14, 2008
There are two key elements to the enjoyment of any novel; the caliber of the writing itself, and the plot. Some stories are stronger in one area than the other, with an exceptional effort by one having the ability to offset the deficiencies of its shameful counterpart. This trade is a good example of exactly that. Darwyn Cooke's artistic acumen at conceiving engaging dialogue and vivid characterizations clearly compensate for the shortcomings and flimsiness confined within the plot, specifically the curious and confounding conclusion. This is a literary equivalent of the means justifying the end, or of enjoying the journey despite its dubious and disappointing denouement. Cooke especially shines while contrasting Superman's initial fears over his own mortality versus his peaceful acceptance of his emerging humanity. One relevant point worth mentioning is the book's titular focus on kryptonite, which is a bit misleading, considering it only plays a minor role in the grand scheme of things. What would have been intriguing was its apparent impression of sentient kryptonite. This however was not the direction explored, and how everything plays out remains to be read, since further discussion would only reveal major spoilers. On the artistic side, Tim Sale's illustrations continue to have their merits and blemishes. His Lois Lane is undeniably gorgeous and quite a woman, a magnificent mirror image of Selina Kyle from When in Rome. However his pudgy, adolescent Clark Kent more befits a hulking Nebraska Cornhusker lineman than a lithe, swift Superman, but this is admittedly splitting hairs. So despite its unsatisfying ending, Cooke and Sale superbly deliver an enjoyable and charming update on the early, more innocent days of the man of steel.