Fell all the more in love with the greatest superhero ever!
I yearned for the down home and loving parents that are Jonathan and Martha Kent and all the corny platitudes they say. And Superman is written true to his Golden Age self, pure-hearted and saving the day. The classic characters are all present: Jonathan and Martha Kent, Lana Lang, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Jimmy Olsen. (I never noticed all those alliterative Ls before.) I also really enjoyed the seasonal-themed chapters and how Clark/Superman never narrates. The artwork just perfectly complements the Golden Age tone of the comic. I've read a lot of Superman hyperbole like Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, The Return, Unchained, Red Son. And those are all magnificent stories in their own right.
Spring is the first chapter and it is the loving story of a father watching his son grow up, of trusting him enough to let him go. The book starts as a photo album with beautiful pictures of Clark as a baby and then growing up with the Kents. In Spring, Clark is learning and experiencing his power for the first time and it's a hard revelation for Jonathan, our narrator, but for Clark too. The tough words of Lois and the encounters with Luthor are the perfect contrast for the boy that yearns for Smallville, for his fortress of solitude. The last chapter in this story is told by Lana Lang and starts with a Metropolis without Superman and The Daily Planet without Clark Kent. It is not the fantastic story of the boy who escaped Krypton, in fact, Loeb skips all Kryptonian story and focuses on the boy raised in Smallville, which I loved, it gave this book an unexpected tone and made me enjoy the story on a much personal level and strangely, seeing Clark and his parents made me yearn for mine, my home and my childhood.
I'm definitely now gonna have to pick up more superman trades (any recommendations hit me up!) i feel this is the one to convert you into a superman fan, i like the guy tons more than i ever did he's still no batman, and shit he ain't aquaman but we'll get there.
Like so many of Supermans books, this one is also concerned with retelling the characters origins: how he slowly discovered his powers, moved from Smallville to Metropolis, met Lois and Lex and became Superman. But I would argue its not nearly as good as other origin stories like John Byrnes Man of Steel or Mark Waids Birthright. Waid does something similar in Birthright but doesnt keep the reader at a distance, instead drawing them in right into the conversation and we see the two interact up close in real time. Loebs choice to keep the reader well away from Jonathan and Clark not only makes reading this book a less personable experience but also sums up the books coldness. At the end of the Smallville sequence, a twister devastates the small town and is also the first time Clark behaves like Superman sans costume. I felt it was an inferior origin story because Loeb doesnt really explain much. These are things that are addressed better in Birthright where we see the formation of a character in All Seasons we see Superman fully formed. But most importantly this shows that Loeb doesnt have anything new to say about the character, or have anything interesting to add to Supermans story no new angles are explored, its like watching a jigsaw come together: flat and predictable. Superman For All Seasons is an ok origin story. Loeb crucially gets the characters and their voices right but doesnt do anything different with his version of Supermans story to help readers understand the character. Read Byrnes Man of Steel and Waids Birthright for better Superman origin stories and youll see where Im coming from.
This novel, however, made me remember everything I loved about comics as a kid: the almost "morality play" storylines, the majesty of the characters as they move across panels, the comedy that can easily be found in running around in tights, the hardbitten women unwilling to sit on the sidelines while the boys have all the fun. A truly great Rockwellian-like piece, in its humane voices and picturesque visuals, Loeb and Sale manage to capture all that the 1980s reboot revealed about Superman, while still maintaining the nostalgic rhythms of the Max Fleisher cartoons.
Whats interesting here is despite being a comic about the most iconic and well known superhero ever, its not your standard superhero story. The art is hit and miss, Ill give it a point for the good parts of the art, there are some panels that are amazing. The characters are interesting and well written. This book is a bit more suspenseful than I would expect a Superman comic to be, thats nice. Its not only well written but also one of the things that gives these characters that much more depth, I love this books narrative.
Superman for All Seasons is a four-part story conceived right around the time Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale embraced great success with Batman: The Long Halloween. While focusing on his struggle and exploits that lead him to go beyond his parents farm and into the big city, the story also focuses on Clark Kent coming to terms with his powers. In a nearly-perfect retelling of Supermans early life, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale delivers one of the most intimate story of a character that holds a burden far too huge for anyone to carry around. In fact, plenty of people would surely want to do things that will solely benefit themselves alone, but Clark Kent is a man who sees in his powers an opportunity to serve a greater good. The softness of the artwork, with the brilliant analogies between Clark Kents life in the cornfields and his struggles with his powers and the pressures of modern society, this story simply transcends the very comic book medium and illustrates hope and virtue through love and understanding.