Writer: Jeph Loeb

Artists: Tim Sale

Publisher: DC

Superman for All Seasons takes us back to a different age, the Smallville world of Midwest values and sensibilities.  The book is filled with a sense of nostalgia that’s both tender and poignant, carrying a real emotional punch.  This is the hallmark of Loeb and Sale, evoking the humanity of their characters in books like Daredevil: Yellow, Spider-Man: Blue, and Hulk: Gray.

“It’s not nearly as hard as learning you have limitations as it is learning how to work with  them.” –Pa Kent

Each character in their own way reflect the idea of what it must be like for Superman to come to terms with who he is and why he does what he does.  Inadvertently, they speak as much about their  own woundedness and expectations—how they see him, see themselves, measure themselves against him—as they do him.

“You may be able to do things nobody else can do but that doesn’t make it any less hard to be who you want to be.” –Lana Lang

And, “super” or not, Superman/Clark Kent struggles with the very essence of his humanity:

-he looks for a place to belong, to call home

-he struggles with loneliness

-he bears the unspoken weight of never being able to do enough and be an example for everyone

“Being the most powerful man in the world means nothing if you are all alone.” –Lex Luthor

To draw Biblical allusions, I’m reminded of the concept known as “the Messianic Consciousness.”  Not all scholars believe this theory, but the principle works like this: Jesus gradually grew into his knowledge and role as the Messiah. The same idea is at work here.  Not only do we see Clark Kent coming to terms with his body and powers, and the responsibility of being different/having special gifts; but we also see him wrestle with what he is to do with those gifts.  The burden of the fact that being multi-gifted means that we are that much more obligated to use those gifts.  To whom more is given, more is expected.

“These are choices each of us makes, not only to do good, but to inspire good in others.” –Lana Lang

Superman for All Seasons is not filled with the typical action slam bam that fills many superhero comics.  Tim Sale’s art captures the essence of Superman, both his humanity and the icon.  The story is told in seasons, each season representing a character’s point of view:  Pa Kent (Spring), Lois Lane (Summer), Lex Luthor (Fall), and Lana Lang (Winter).  If Lori Lemaris had narrated spring, we’d have completed the L.L. initialed associates of Superman theme.  But Superman for All Seasons has always had the feel of a special book.   One that should be appreciated for its simple yet profound storytelling and its elegant art.