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Superman: Kryptonite
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 1, 2009
Darwyn Cooke has a knack for getting back to the early days of iconic superheroes. He's done runs on Batman, Catwoman, and the whole DC Universe. In New Frontier, he was so successful recreating the superheroes of yesteryear that the graphic novels were turned into a made for DVD movie that became highly successful.

In Superman: Kryptonite, Cooke manages to write about Superman's first encounter with the dreaded meteorites from his exploded home planet, and to find a way to get Superman in touch with his Kryptonian heritage for the first time. I thought the story was well done and presented a number of surprises in a story that everyone thought they already knew.

I was somewhat dismayed by the fact that Cooke didn't draw this one. It took me a little while to get used to his artwork, but now I'm a fan. His artwork is more cartoony and exaggerated than I normally like because I was a big Neal Adams fan while growing up. But Cooke brings a lot of energy and edginess to his illustrations.

Tim Sale drew the pages, and his artwork underscored the simple yet involved story Cooke recounted. I liked the way the pages were broken down into panels, though I don't know if that was Cooke or Sale's presentation. The brightness of the colors on the pages, the heroic stances, the clear definitions between good and evil really too me back to my younger days when I'd spend hours reading comics and imagining what it would be like to have super powers and a secret identity.

Superman's relationship with Lois Lane during the early years after they met is shown really well in this story. I liked the feel of the old school relationship while couched in a world filled with computers and cell phones. Jimmy Olsen has a newsboy look about him that doesn't fit in today's world, but he's got a violent and street smart streak through him that was fascinating to watch in action.

I also really enjoyed the way Superman didn't know his own limitations, and the way he wondered if each increasingly dangerous encounter he had would be the one that seriously injured him or killed him. I hadn't really thought about that before. In other comics I'd only been exposed to the idea of Superman getting hurt by magic, by equally tough villains, or while under a red sun. Seeing this worry reflected in the pages of this book was interesting.

The way Superman talked to his parents was amazing. I liked the way Jonathan told Clark to never mention his fear or his pain to Martha because she wouldn't be able to take it. And then Martha got onto Clark for listening to his father. It was touching and comical at the same time, and at the heart of the way Cooke understands characters.

If you haven't read this one, you owe it to yourself to pick it up. Cooke and Superman both shine in this graphic novel.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2010
When I put this down, I thought to myself: "Tim Sale and Darwyn Cooke make a great team". It isn't just the artwork, but the bright and rich environment that is as wholesome as it is deceiving. It's so brilliantly constructed that your natural reaction as a reader is to reject the grim bits of violence you encounter, something I actually enjoy being tricked into doing.
There are hints of both "For All Seasons" and "The New Frontier" strung along... for the former it only makes sense as this more of the first quarter of Superman's sophomoric stage, and the latter introduces a presence far less sinister than New Frontier's "The Centre", but still we have the concept of a quiet alien entity watching over humans, waiting for the time to act. When it states its name, it is a bit of a disappointment. I was actually hoping for another green alien whose name starts with "Br", but this is meant to be a creation exclusive to the "Confidential" series.
The story itself deals with Superman's attachment to his adopted humanity, and by that extension, his questionable mortality. As other reviewers have said, it pushes thoughts not usually explored in the patterns of random, routine, and reflection: the fear that comes with the discovery that Superman is invulnerable to extreme cold and heat, the feelings of dread and terror after his first kryptonite-assisted beating, and then the relief that Superman feels when he realizes he is a mortal after-all - just like his Ma and Pa.
I love the artwork. I love the simplicity of the story. And I love that it's on my shelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2012
Every comic has 2 important aspects: the story and the art. Superman: Kryptonite retells and revisits the introduction of kryptonite to the Superman mythos. The story is paced very well and details just how our beloved Man of Steel deals with the dreaded green rock. There is also a mysterious new face to Metropolis that Lois seems to fall for. This new character serves as the main antagonist. Very fresh take on the kryptonite story. The art by Tim Sale is superb. There is a very old world feel to story because of the great art. The characters and environments are fleshed out in such a way that is reminiscent of a golden age comic book story. This story from SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL #1-5 and 11 and should not be missed by any Superman fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2012
Superman: Kryptonite is essentially the start of Superman's 'career' in Metropolis. Although it's not an origin story it does show Superman learning about his past and his limits. A unique story, I like Tim Sale's artwork a lot, particularly in The Long Halloween (one of my favorite novels ever), it was pretty good in Kryptonite but I must say, his style is much more suited to Batman characters than probably anywhere else. The story was well written, pretty good dialogue, overall an enjoyable read. I rented this book at my local library.
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on January 8, 2013
This books collects Superman Confidential #1-5,#11 containing the full Kryptonite story arc by Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale. It also contains a forward by Cooke and an afterword by Sale with many sketches.

This book is, for lack of a better word; Perfection. Tim Sale is my favorite comic artist and I bought this book for that fact alone, never having even heard of this series. Reading this, I now feel that Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale may be even better suited than the super-team of Time Sale and Jeff Loeb. Firstly, the art - superb! Incredibly beautiful artwork that makes you stare at each panel as a separate work of art suitable for framing on your wall. Tim Sale's characters (designed here by Darwyn Cooke) look wonderful and everyone looks how they should. Cooke and Tim love that 1920's/1950's feel and it really shows here and fits perfectly with the timeline of being an adventure set early on in Superman's career.

This is the story about Superman's first run-in with Kryptonite, yet Cooke makes it about so much more than that. This story is about love and relationships, Superman's past and even fears. The world believes that Superman is invulnerable, but he doesn't - not yet. He has only been Superman for a few years and does not yet know his limits. Each grand adventure still has that sense of fear that this could kill him. When he is first effected by Kryptonite, he is faced with his own mortality for perhaps truly the first time. I loved this story, especially the twist in the final issue. I should have seen it coming, but was surprised. It seems you know whats going to happen and then the series takes a 180 degree turn and its great. The characters, both old and new, are perfect in this piece.

I have to say that this is now my favorite Superman Graphic Novel and only wish there were more to read.

Note: I sought out the other issues to Superman Confidential and let me warn you - Dont waste your time! The other issues, 6-10, 12-14 are written and drawn by different teams and are completely different. Buy THIS compilation and enjoy. You will not regret it.
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on April 7, 2013
Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale working together on a retro-flavored Superman story is like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone starring in a buddy cop movie. Superman: Kryptonite is a retelling of Superman's first encounter with his only weakness, and is only very loosely based on the original comic story in which it was introduced (after first appearing on the Superman radio show in the 1940s) Sale's one-of-a-kind style suits this story well, since it's something that could be read and understood by anyone, from the most casual Superman fan with only vague memories of watching the Christopher Reeve movies as a child to the diehard fan with a treasured cache of black-bagged Death of Superman issues. Cooke does something unique for the story, giving Kryptonite itself a narrative voice in the story (although this interesting take is later done away with). If you enjoyed Darwyn Cooke's The New Frontier, or Tim Sale's Batman stories The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, you will also enjoy Superman: Kryptonite.
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on August 17, 2011
I'm not ashamed to say I love Tim Sale. I could watch this guy illustrate a text book. I absolutely love his art and the way he takes readers back in time. Here, teamed with Darwyn Cooke who also has a talent for time travel, we get an reimagined tale of the first time Clark experiences Kryptonite. Overall the story was fantastic. I loved Luthor having a rival on his level and the scenes with the Kents in Smallville were great. Like I said, the art is the star of the book and almost perfect other than Jimmy looking too young. The story was close to perfect as well with a few minor points in time hang-ups for me. Overall this is a very very good book and can be read by anyone no matter their opinions of Superman.
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on January 4, 2015
The overall story is....so-so. Not incredible but enjoyable. The thing that makes this worth read is Superman's internal dialogue. Darwyn Cooke does a fantastic job of humanizing the Man of Steel, merging Clark Kent and Superman into one person almost seemlessly.
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on December 30, 2014
A great read and addition to the Superman mythos. I'm an adult, so if I read graphic novels, I want them to offer something 'extra' in the art and story-line, and Mr. Darwyn Cooke delivers. This is the Superman I loved as a kid, up-dated for the 21st Century.
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