Friday, January 25, 2008

All-Star Superman

I just picked up the hardcover collection of "All-Star Superman" by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely yesterday and finished it up this afternoon. Whenever Morrison and Quitely get together, something magic happens, as in their collaborations on New X-Men and for the JLA one-shot "Earth 2".

All-Star Superman had a lot of hype around it before I picked it up, as it topped many a top-ten list before I had gotten around to reading it, and the accolades it garnered over at Fanboy Radio and Comics Should Be Good basically wore away my general apprehension of the big boy-scout outside of the Justice League. Superman usually comes across as a little too good, too powerful to really have anything interesting to say in his stories, and without a Batman or Wonder Woman to offer up some contrast, Superman just becomes silly or boring.

First off, before really even getting into the story, the first thing to catch ones eye is the absolutely gorgeous art by Frank Quitely. He has his share of detractors, but I've always been a fan of his, and on this title he really shines. It looks just so...pretty, which is a little odd to say about a comic, but I can't think of another way to say it. It just looks that good.

Morrison and Quitely do a great job of breaking Superman out of this stigma and really whittling away all the junk from his history, hearkening back in some ways to the Richard Donner film in their simple presentation of the icon.
From the first page, you can see the simplicity of it all. Four panels. Eight words. The origin told more completely and more efficiently in decades. And it doesn't stop there, either, as Morrison takes care to takes us to visit all of the members of the supporting cast, with issues that feature Lois, Jimmy Olsen, Ma and Pa Kent, and of course Lex Luthor.

Taken in all in one sitting, the book did lack a little bit of the mounting pressure that I've come to expect from Morrison's writing. Instead he churns out little 22-page gems that just tell you a nice, fun, perfect little Superman tale. All in all, I can say that the hype and reviews were right, and "All-Star Superman" was one of the best super-hero books in years.

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