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Thursday, November 17, 2005

 

All-Star Superman #1


I had an approximately 8 million word post on this, written the day before the book even came out. That's how excited I was about the prospect of Morrison/Quitely Superman. Then my Netscape crashed, and I lost the post.

I have the book though. It's worth most of those 8 million words. Can it really be so hard to write a decent Superman story that Grant Morrison is the only one who knows how to do it? The book doesn't induce spontaneous orgasm or turn water to Cristal. It's just confidently good, like Superman himself ought to be. After 20 years of watching Superman become a whiny, indecisive jerk, All-Star Superman comes as a big relief. It makes one seriously question what possible reason DC might have for its nebulous "editorial constraints" that supposedly force all of their regular Superman comics to suck on such a consistent basis. All-Star Superman doesn't feel constrained at all (with one small exception--I would have loved to have seen the new Morrison/Quitely design for the S symbol maintained. Instead, it's been replaced with the more familiar trademark.) The story is utterly simple, something that's particularly noticable in light of the narrative complexity of Morrison's concurrent Seven Soldiers miniseries. I can actually read this to my 7 year-old. It's amazing to me that I can't say the same thing about any of the other 4-5 Superman comics I pick up in a given month.

Frank Miller's All-Star Batman and Robin liberates Batman by making him act like an unhinged, hyperactive 12-year-old; shaking off the cliches that weigh the character down by parodying them and using the elements to craft something immediate, something new. Morrison's Superman succeeds by distilling the title character to his essence, presenting the ideal, timeless Superman--equal parts seigel & Shuster, George Reeves, Curt Swan, Christopher Reeve, Mort Weisinger and Bruce Timm--that people like me keep in the back of their heads, and one DC has sadly avoided publishing for the last couple of decades.

Comments:
Sounds awesome! I'm going to get it.
 
I got it on Friday and it is indeed excellent. Very very entertaining. The scientist guy who calls fear the "sauce on the steak of life" (or some line pretty close to that) was sweet - nice rainbow topcoat. You were correct to recommend it.
 
My favorite line in the book is "Only nothing is impossible!" Pure Morrison, probably ought to be on his gravestone. And Luthor was captured better than he has been in 20 years, with a cover scheme for killing Superman that would have doen the Gene Hackman version of the character proud.
 
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