Ever wanted to read a wholesome take on Superman with an electric art style that can be read by anyone? Look no further than DC Zoom’s latest trade paperback in the digest size format: Superman of Smallville. It combines the talents of legend Art Baltazar and Franco, perfectly exemplifying the positivity and art design that’ll put a smile on your face.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Acts of awesomeness are happening around town. People are being rescued, runaway tractors stopped, and fires extinguished. This is all in a day’s work for the hero known only as “Superman.” But who is he, really? Thirteen-year-old Clark Kent knows. He has a super-secret–one his parents are constantly worried will get out. Clark promises to be extra careful, but when random objects begin to take flight and disappear, his parents threaten to ground him. Except he’s innocent! If Superman isn’t responsible…who is? Join Clark in this hilarious adventure as he sniffs out the real culprit.
Why does this matter?
Clark Kent is a simple kid trying to fit in and go with the flow in middle school. He has his chores on his families farm and his best friend Lana makes Clark feel lighter than air. Oh, and Clark is Superman! It’s the kind of light-fun storytelling that’s quite efficient at pleasing the reader.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is endearing comic books. It opens with Superman saving a few local Smallville farmers at the early stages of his tenure as the local superhero. He stops a barn fire, saves a fisherman, and prevents a few sheep and a tractor from taking a hard fall. They are the kind of threats that won’t scare little kids reading the book and they’re endearing enough to entertain older readers. The book focuses on Clark’s time as a middle schooler and just beginning to become Superman. He’s a simple sort of kid living a simple life on the farm. Considering Clark’s farm lifestyle early on it suits his the character’s positivity we know and love.
This book also offers a satisfying story from beginning to end. Told in chapters it shows Superman save the day, but over the course of the book, Clark learns something about himself, gains new friends, and learns a bit about being super-grounded. The Kryptonian reveals are interesting adding a new layer to the narrative that begs for a sequel.
Baltazar’s art is incredibly clean and simple at first blush, but is very good at telling a complex story in every panel. There’s a sense of humor here that’s delightful which will make little kids light up and give adults a big fat smirk. Once again, the endearing quality of the story is matched by the endearing nature of the art.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Lex Luthor ends up being more of a bystander than an actual threat in this book. He shows up a few times, but he stumbles onto something that threatens Smallville rather than does anything of note to thwart Superman. It’s, of course, a kids book, but it would have been more interesting to develop his character beyond what is shown here.
Is it good?
A fun and endearing Superman tale that’ll put a smile on your face. Read this one to perk up your day and most definitely give it to the nearest child.