Review: All Star Superman

This week saw the release of the final issue of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman.  I don’t usually bring up these things until they’ve been collected, but I’m making an exception in this case.  This series is a masterpiece, it’s probably the best Superman comic ever written and is one of the only 2 sure to be classic stories to come out of Marvel and DC (not counting Vertigo) in the last decade (the other being Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier).

I’ve seen comparisons out there on the internets to Watchmen.  And it may very well be that good, although it’s a very different sort of story.  Where Watchmen sought to deconstruct the superhero genre All Star Superman seeks to embrace it instead.  The book can feel a bit anachronistic at times becuase of this approach actually, many of the issues are based heavily off of the rather silly Superman comics of the silver age.  But that’s also one of the book’s strengths, as Morrison is telling what is really a foundational superhero comic.

There is so much I could say about this book, but Timothy Callahan over at CBR already summed it up far better than I could:

“This Superman rises above genre conventions to become something mythic. He is a god. He is the perfection that we can only dream of. And only Morrison and Quitely, at the top of their game, can even attempt to tell his stories.”

Reserve the collected editions of this book now!  It should be an essential part of any serious comic collection.

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2 Comments on “Review: All Star Superman”

  1. thebigsmoke Says:

    I realise this is subjective, but:

    1. It’s not the best Superman comic ever written. I might recommend Alan Moore’s ‘Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?’ amongst others.

    2. I can think of plenty of other sure-to-be-classic stories that have come from DC this past decade. Green Lantern: Rebirth (perhaps the best Green Lantern story ever) springs to mind, but even Justice was more notable than All-Star Superman. What about Identity Crisis? That was pretty good.

    3. It is nowhere near as good as Watchmen, but then not much is.

    All-Star Superman didn’t deliver on the promise of the early issues. The artwork was fantastic, and Morrison did a great job of capturing some of the magic of the golden age (rather than the silver age, as you said), but ultimately it was a bit flat. The plot didn’t really go anywhere or say anything.

  2. geekylibrarian Says:

    I agree with your praise for Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow. It is justifiably a classic and is the only other Superman story that readily springs to mind when I think of the character. But it’s also 20 years old at this point and in the intervening years I don’t feel that there has been a single Superman comic until now that was ever able to come close to how good that story was.

    As for the other titles you mention, all of them are fine comics. In particular I’ve become a fan of the work Geoff Johns has been doing on Green Lantern (I title I’ve never liked until now might I add). It is a great book, and probably has a better sense of scale than anything else being published right now. But my gut kind of says that while it will go down as one of the great Green Lantern comics, it will not have a huge impact on the larger history of the medium in the way that Watchmen did.

    I enjoyed reading Justice, I’m a huge fan of Jim Kruger, Doug Braithwaite and Alex Ross, but I feel that they have all done better work elsewhere.

    As for Identity Crisis, I’m sort of on the fence regarding it. I thought it had some phenomenal character work but I was really bothered by the darkening of the DC Universe goal that was set for it.

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