Superman for All Seasons (1998) #2

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Writer Jeph Loeb pushes a little too hard with the soft cliffhanger setting up next issue; it’s two pages plus a panel, but it feels longer because it ties into the final action sequence. It’s Lex Luthor machinating against Superman stuff, which is inevitable but also one-note. Loeb doesn’t give Luthor any depth; he’s caricature.

It’s also pretty much the only thing wrong with the comic. And when Superman’s around to treat Luthor like a dipstick, it works; the cliffhanger setup is the problem. There’s no Superman in it. Plus, Loeb takes the emphasis away from Lois Lane—who’s narrating—and instead gives it to Luthor. The only real misstep in the lovely comic.

The issue opens with Lois’s narration; she’s talking about Perry White’s reporting advice, then talking about Superman. Accompanying the narration are visuals of Superman flying around the Art Deco future Metropolis on his way to his first adventure of the day, in this case, a missile headed directly towards the city. After saving the day and introducing Lois—in-person as opposed to her voice—to the comic and establishing the animosity between Superman and Luthor, Loeb downshifts and examines Clark Kent, big-city reporter. Lois’s narration continues, more sparingly, as she doesn’t know Clark’s Superman.

When Clark goes home to Smallville for his first visit since leaving—presumably he’s seen Ma and Pa Kent, just not anyone else—he finds he’s no more at home there any more than in Metropolis. There’s a great visual callback to the first issue, juxtaposing Clark and Pa Kent and the proverbial stars in their eyes.

The Smallville visit is very gentle, very sweet. Most of the comic’s sweet, with Superman charming everyone but Luthor, who’s jealous enough of the visitor from another world he’s maybe supplying terrorists and definitely endangering public safety with hastily designed drone heroes of his own.

There’s a lot of nice art from Tim Sale; lots of two-page spreads, some for action, some for mood. Both carry it; For All Seasons is a splendid, casually familiar comic book. Loeb’s Lois Lane narration is near perfect, with only a handful of iffy lines; given she’s narrating but not present, her lines have to at least minorly relate to the visualized action. Loeb does it well every time.

It would be nice to see some of the Daily Planet cast; Lois talks about Jimmy Olsen and White in the narration, but there’s nothing to them besides their presence in her narration. They’re not characters yet.

Some of Sale’s action art is breathtaking. All of it’s pretty darn good; great colors again from Bjarne Hansen.

I vaguely, trepidatiously remember where For All Seasons is going now, but hopefully, it’ll maintain its current level of quality.

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