Reviews: All Star Superman

An incredibly good story

Frank Quitely and Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman is perhaps the best non-canonical Superman story written Post-Crisis.

It touches every important aspect of Silver Age Superman with style and grace. Absent is any effort to bring the Superman mythos down to earth, embracing the zanyness and wackyness of its most glorious period with gusto and intelligence. It's almost a Refuge in Audacity script, embracing the camp so much that it becomes cool in the process: Superman becomes ridiculously strong even by his own standards; Jimmy Olsen must mutate into something crazy to help Superman; Luthor is pure awesome ham; Clark Kent tries to convince Lois that he's Superman; Kryptonian attire includes antennae... the works for a comic book from The '50s or The '60s but made in The Noughties.

Morrison not only gives us a sense of awe and wonder but he does it with the traditional Good Is Old-Fashioned Superman. Our hero is in his classic uber-kindness mode, being nice to everyone by default and not giving hope even on Luthor. And it works.

Frank Quitely's art is technically very good and impressively detailed, but his warts and all approach can be a bit distracting. Superman's Adam's apple is too noticeable and sometimes it seems that he was modeled after Jay Leno when we take their chin into consideration. Lois Lane, Lana Lang and Lilo resemble one another. All of the characters tend to be drawn with rather constrained facial expressions (the Parasite being the only exception). Quitely also seems to think that being muscular = being puffy.

Jamie Grant's digital coloring is also distracting. Skin colors look unnatural, everyone seems to have a weird suntan or a mild case of argyria. Even with Quitely's crisp and precise skin details, the coloring gives every face a sheen that makes one wonder if the characters are supposed to be wearing some plastic masks.

Still a recommendable purchase, read and keep. The script alone is worth it.

One of Superman's greatest.

My opinion on Grant Morrison is a mixed one (I can't stand things like Final Crisis, but I do quite like We3), but All Star Superman is undoubtedly one of the best things he's ever written in my opinion, and this particular tale ranks as one of the best Superman stories I've ever read.

This book really gets to the core of Superman as a character, showing him for The Paragon that he is, giving him many awesome and heartwarming moments. The plot basically is this: Superman is dying from an overdose of solar radiation causing his cell's to break down. Does Superman angst or whine about his predicament? No, he does what Superman always does, he saves lives.

With the time he has left, Superman decides to wrap up all the loose ends he has. He confesses his love to Lois Lane, cures cancer, frees the Kandorians on a new home planet, converts Lex Luthor from villain to hero, and in his last act he releases his energy inside the sun to undo the damage Solaris has done to it. (Technically he doesn't die, but...yeah.)

The book isn't perfect though, I have some minor gripes. Some of the issues really don't have anything to do with the whole 'Superman is dying' thing (Namely the Jimmy Olsen one.) In addition Frank Quitely's artwork isn't quite suited for this kind of book, with many characters just looking really damn odd at times.

In conclusion, All Star Superman is a story that gets to the heart of what an amazing hero Superman is, and it would certainly put faith into those who doubt Superman as a character.
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