Tim Sale and Darwyn Cooke Superman Confidential #11
Art by Andy Kubert and story by Brad Anderson
The series "Superman Confidential" started off well with number 1. Tim Sale and Darwyn Cooke together were writing the tale, with Sale doing the artwork. But after issue #5, the Cooke/Sale story suddenly vanished from the series and instead various other Superman stories appeared from other writers and artists more in the current superhero mold of flashing ab muscles and outsized character angst. Then, just as suddenly as they left, issue #11 appeared with the Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale picking the story right back up where it left off and then reaching a sudden conclusion.
Superman Confidential #11: Superman travels through time to witness the demise of his parents as they shoot him off to earth in a rocket.
Question: Does Tim Sale draw Superman as a wholesome chunk of muscle with a farm boy demeanor; or does Sale draw him as an oversized dufus? I believe it is the former, and though there are negatives to Sale's free-hand draftsmanship (proportions get out of whack here in there) altogether there's not many comic book artists who can deliver art this loose and still have professionally made "superhero comic book artwork."
Darwyn Cooke adds to the Superman origin by writing a tale that includes some time-jumping so that we have something like the pathos of Gotham City and Bruce Wayne suddenly wafting into Clark Kent's / Kal-Els life (Superman's eyes opened wide in horror at his private original much like little Bruce Wayne in the alley with Joe Chill and the gun).
Cooke is a good comic book writer and so the usage of an outer space historian guiding Superman to this knowledge isn't quite as obvious a usage of the Charles Dickens "Christmas Carole" motif as it might have been otherwise.
Still, besides Dickens, there are also reverberations from Bob Kane/Bill Finger's Batman. All the borrowing mixed together seems to make for a more modern take on the Man O' Steel, but the more you lean Supers toward Batman, the less you have something like the original Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel creation.
Sale's artwork reminds me somewhat of Raymond Toulouse-Lautrec poster line art. Dave Stewart colors are generally straight forward with a lot of purple shadows used to try and put some roundness onto Sale's flat line work. The combination tones down Sale towards traditional comic art.