Pick of the Week

November 16, 2005 – All Star Superman #1

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Size: pages

Story by Grant Morrison
Art by Frank Quitely
Colors by Jamie Grant

Published by DC Comics | $2.99

The newly launched All Star line is DC Comics‘ quasi-answer to Marvel‘s uber-successful Ultimate line. It is supposed to be a place where creators can just tell stories about the big guns without worrying about the shackles of continuity.

The first offering, All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder from Frank Miller and Jim Lee has been something of a disappointment, mostly due to the fact that the main characters seem more at home in MIller’s Sin City than Gotham City. So it was with great excitement but also great trepidation that I approached this book.

For me, it’s all about the double-page spread on pages two and three.

Now, I’ve been reading Superman books off and on my entire comic book reading life. If things are interesting, I buy them. If I like the creative team, I buy them. If things are really bad or I don’t like the creative team, I don’t. As much as I love Superman (and I do), I’m not married to the books themselves. And to be quite honest, even when I am enjoying the books, there is always a sense of disappointment. Reading the main Superman books I always get the feeling that the creators and editors are crushed under the weight of the character. Superman isn’t just the flagship character for DC Comics (not to mention Time Warner), but for all superheroes everywhere. That’s a lot of responsibility. That doesn’t allow for a lot of risk taking. And that’s probably why the Elseworlds Superman stories and the team books in which he appears are always so much more fun.

(I’ll take this opportunity to just throw it out there that Grant Morrison’s JLA in the mid-90s featured the best Superman since John Byrne’s Man of Steel, and probably better).

Every time a (often) vaunted new creative team is announced a Superman book, they invariably talk about how they’re going to show the wonder, and the awe, and the grandeur that is Superman. I want to see Superman and feel the way I did when Christopher Reeve caught Margot Kidder as she fell from the top of The Daily Planet building, and that is rarely the case these days.

But when I opened All Star Superman and turned to the double page spread on pages two and three and saw Superman flying past the Sun, arms outstretched, slight smile on his face, I knew I was back in the warm embrace of Grant Morrison, a man who truly knows how to write Kal-El.

Here we find Superman helping Morrison-esque super-scientists take a sample from the sun. Every one of Superman’s cells is a solar battery so you’d think he would be the man for the job. Of course, this is the sun we’re talking about here, and some things might be too much for even the Last Son of Krypton to handle. I’m not going to ruin the surprise, but things don’t turn out too well for Superman, even if it’s not apparent from the outside. At the end of the issue we’re left with an interesting question, one that I look forward to exploring along with Morrison.

Oh, yeah, and Frank Quitely rocks.

Conor Kilpatrick
They only lack the light to show the way.

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  1. I really liked this book from the get-go due to the first page. Four panels, eight words, and BOOM, you’ve got the origin of Superman.

    I liked the delineation between Good and Evil, showing Superman, pretty much all-encompassing good, and Luthor, unapologeticly evil, and the clear line drawn between them.

    This tale also encompasses a LOT of Superman mythos, from Bizarro, the SuperCharging (a throwback the the electric Blue/Red Superman) of his powers, and even the purposeful clumsiness of Clark Kent.

    I’m a big Morrison fan, an okay Quietly fan, and a HUGE DC fanboy. So, I enjoyed it, I’ll pick up #2, and I’m still not giving up on AS: B&R.

    Thanks for the podcasting, guys. It’s really enjoyable.

  2. Frank Quitelys’ art is just too good at times that i get distracted…..that is if the writing aren’t a match.

    well i am glad to say Morrison is more than a match.

    Excellent read.

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