Superman: Kryptonite

Storytellers: Tim Sale & Darwyn Cooke
Page Count: 160
Publish Date: 9/23/08

“From battling crime and corruption in Metropolis to preventing disasters all over the world, Superman has yet to find a force that can stop him. But when a suave, savage crimelord makes his move on Metropolis, he brings his most prized possession with him: Kryptonite! Now everyone from Lois Lane to Lex Luthor to Superman himself is racing to uncover the secret of this green meteorite…”

After seventy years of Superman storytelling, you’d think that everything has been done. Well, Sale and Cooke’s Kryptonite is here to prove you wrong.

We rarely see Superman’s earliest days, when the Man of Steel doesn’t know just how invincible he is. He’s insecure, perhaps even fearful, that one day he’ll find the one thing that’ll kill him, but Superman still faces boiling lava, exploding tanks, you name it…because that’s who he is. But Superman’s fear of mortality and “screwing up” is not only a brilliantly realistic conceit as he begins his journey as a superhero, but it makes him all the more human–especially when he confides in his parents about his fears.

Because Superman’s just starting out, his relationships with Lois, Jimmy and Lex are starting to form too. Sale and Cooke lay the foundations without playing the same old tune, and I especially liked how Lois is shown as determined, sassy and sophisticated–but not once the damsel in distress.

The storytelling is specifically unique because part of the story is told from the perspective of…Kryptonite. That’s right, a chunk of green alien rock has a narrative. It might be a stretch for new readers, but it works, it’s convincing, and by the end, it all makes sense. Let’s just say that the climactic moment is one of the best, and most emotional, Superman moments I’ve read.

With Sale and Cooke at the helm, you’d think that the art would be hands-down fabulous. (I love how they bill themselves as “storytellers,” instead of the conventional writer/artist dichotomy.) And for the most part, it’s wonderful–there were just some moments when Clark looks…somewhat doughy, and Lex’s head is shaped like an egg. A couple of frames threw me for a loop, but it wasn’t enough to make me put down the book.

I’m on a roll with good books :)


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