Saturday, August 26, 2023

Book Review: Superman - The Harvests of Youth

Despite being a superpowered teenager, high school has been pretty normal for Clark Kent; but his idyllic life is wrenched away when the death of a classmate rocks all of Smallville. As he and his friends grieve, the challenges they face become darker, more complex, and deeply insidious. Clark feels completely out of his depth when Smallville’s latest threat proves that it takes more than fists and laser beams to save the day. For the first time in his life, he must grapple with life’s biggest questions, and confront his own mortality (or lack thereof) to become the hero his beloved town needs.

Acclaimed GLAAD media award-winning writer and artist Sina Grace tells the deeply moving and quintessential story of teen Clark Kent and the town that must overcome grief and hate to restore hope.

Superman: The Harvests of Youth will be published on October 3, 2023. DC Comics provided an early galley for review.

Grace's artwork along with the colors by Cris Peter capture that small town, midwestern vibe. They contribute to establishing the setting of Smallville which has always been a critical element to the young Superman mythos. Growing up in the Bronze Age of comics, Superboy's adventures were very much a mainstay of my reading. So, in some respects, this book radiates the feeling of "being home".

Grace has also tapped into the high school vibe quite well. Clark, Pete, Lana, Chloe, Gil and Amy all act and sound like teenagers of the most recent generation. The story is clearly set in recent times, with gaming consoles and cell phones and fancy coffees all part of these teens' lifestyle.

The main story line is a heavy one, showing that even the greatest of powers are of little use in certain situations. The themes are something that will especially resonate with younger readers- those who have grown up in the 21st Century with all the challenges their generations have had to endure. It is very much a story of innocence lost and having to wrestle with the complex issues that come with growing towards adulthood. At one point, Clark and Lana are talking about how Clark's parents advised him to cope with the situation. Clark tells her that his parents never had to deal with this stuff when they were young. This sentiment rang true to me. Yes, in the 80's I had classmates in high school who passed before graduation, but it was mostly due to automobile accidents and the like. We compartmentalized emotions and feelings, instead focusing on moving forward. Maybe that isn't always the right way to deal with situations.

Superman: The Harvests of Youth tells a solid story and will definitely resonate with the right audience.

1 comment:

ApacheDug said...

A great review Martin, I am excited to read this. 👍