Review – All Star Superman
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Frank Quietly
Inker: Jamie Grant
Colourist: Jamie Grant
Letterer: Phil Balsman & Travis Lanham
Release Date: November 2005 – October 2008
Getting to review All Star Superman was great as it allowed me to revisit one of my favourite comics ever written, bearing in mind that I am not someone who has ever necessarily been a massive fan of the Man of Steel and have always preferred him as a side character in a Batman story.
The book was written as a jumping in point for wannabe comic book fans, meaning that you can go into this story with little to no prior knowledge of Superman and still have a great time and appreciate everything going on within the plot. That being said, even if you are well versed in Superman’s lore, you will probably still very much enjoy this book and Grant Morrison’s take on the character.
Morrison’s writing moves the book’s plot along at a brisk pace, but is careful not to convolute itself. They manage to keep even the most out-of-the-loop readers abreast of what is going on, without ever having to talk down to them or be condescending in their writing.
I also love how he opens the book with a single page showing Superman’s origin story, before cutting immediately to a beautiful two page spread showing the Man of Steel in all of his costumed glory. As may be expected when it comes to Grant Morrison, the book doesn’t shy away from going cosmic on us early on, showing Superman flying around the circumference of the sun.
I also really enjoy Morrison’s take on Kal El and Lois’ relationship and how that relationship changes and evolves over time. Any relationship that includes a person from another world is going to be a complex one with multiple layers and facets to it.
The other major relationship in Superman’s life is the one that he shares with Lex Luthor. I really enjoy how Morrison writes Lex here as an unflinching sociopath who is willing to go to any lengths necessary to see his plans through to their conclusion.
Quitely’s art smoothly compliments the story being told and is key in making this book as well-loved as it is. I love the clean, crisp illustrations and I am actually a fan of the Superman built like Desperate Dan and appreciate the homage that Quitely pays here to the comic books of his youth.
Jamie Grant’s choice of colour is also a big part of what makes the book iconic. The pages of this book are instantly recognisable at even the briefest of glances due to to the bright, varied colours throughout each page. However, pages still manage to never look garish or gaudy; instead the colours all work to compliment the illustrations and bring each panel to life.
Coming away from having re-read All Star Superman for review, I enjoyed my time with it just as much as I did the first time I read through it. Grant Morrison really hit the nail on the head with this take on the character and gave us the quintessential alternative version of the Man of Steel. Whether you are a big Superman fan or not, go read this book and you will have a great time. Oh and it’s just a little bit better than its All Star Batman and Robin counterpart by Frank Miller and Jim Lee!
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