Reading All-Star Superman vol. 1

Today we review the first All-Star Superman hardcover!

Collecting issues #1-6!


The All-Star line was DC's way of telling the iconic/classic/timeless stories of their big three characters without heavy continuity weighing their books down.

Frank Miller and Jim Lee took up All-Star Batman and the Boy Wonder, which hasn't been doing well at all critically. Wonder Woman was supposed to be All-Starred (with art by Adam Hughes!), but that fell through for one reason or another (I think it's because no one knows how to write Wonder Woman!).

All-Star Superman, however, is doing much better. Writer Grant Morrison is positively a hit, so let's take a look at. . .

THE STORYTELLING

Each issue is a self-contained story, all contained within a point established in the first issue: Superman is dying.
The next issues see Supes revealing his identity to Lois Lane, celebrating her birthday, fighting Jimmy Olsen (as Doomsday! Doomsday Olsen!), tagging along Lex Luthor in prison before his execution as Clark Kent, and travel back in time to a very special moment.

Each issue is meaningful by itself, yet each issue contributes to the overall arc of Superman dying. This is very refreshing to see, in an age where you have to wait six months to get a full story.

The art is just absolutely fun, too:

REMEMBER WHEN COMICS WERE PURE?

Morrison does. Superman gets involved in all sorts of wacky antics, such as the attack of a chronovore on Smallville:
Don't worry, though. The comic does take itself seriously. This scene is framed within the more serious matter of Superman time-travelling to the past to a very important moment in his life, and there's a huge emotional impact from that.

It's fun and important. You don't get better than that!

And just because it's awesome:

THE CHARACTERS!

Morrison's interpretation of the characters is absolutely wonderful. He can tell so much in so little.

Like when Lois Lane accepts her birthday gift from Superman:

Here's a woman who's headstrong, assertive, and knows what she wants. All told in a mere 3 panels. This is art, guys.

There's a fantastic series of scenes where Clark Kent visits Lex Luthor to do a feature on him for the Planet. Because Lex has just been sentenced to execution.

What the two don't anticipate is that a riot breaks out in prison!


There were soooo many other panels I wanted to show you, but this post should only be so long!

What I love about this is that Morrison is using Clark Kent for what Clark Kent was always intended to be: a disguise for Superman. The irony that not even Superman's greatest enemy can see him when he puts on glasses is written so well.

You could argue that Clark Kent isn't as (finger-quote:) "good" as other characters, because he's just a mere mask, cloaking the real identity of Superman. And why should a superhero be the ultimate identity, when real life doesn't reflect it at all? An obvious comparison would be Spider-Man: his alter-ego plays a HUGE role in his stories, and is one of the driving forces behind the character.

I would argue that as well, but remember: Clark Kent was never meant for that. He was meant as an ironic look at secret identities. Nothing more, nothing less, and Morrison accomplished that well.

An issue that I completely overlooked is the Jimmy Olsen issue. That guy irks me: he's so obnoxious, and yet everything comes up keen for him. I hate that.

But seriously, this trade is really, really packed. From Lois's insistence that "Clark is not my idiot!" to Superman's arm-wrestling of Atlas and Samson, there's something to smile about on every single page (unless it's the Jimmy Olsen issue).

Five children-eating Krulls out of five from me!

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