DC asserts that its All-Star line has been created to present their most iconic characters in their purest, most familiar form, unfettered by current continuity. All-Star Batman raised a few eyebrows and objections with its depiction of Batman. Many felt that Frank Miller’s Batman didn’t deliver as promised.
All-Star Superman is another matter
Title: All-Star Superman #1 and 2
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Frank Quitely, Jamie Grant.
Superman, in a Silver Agesque world instantly familiar to anyone with any experience of the Man of Steel, once again saves the day– only to expose himself to a danger which will cost him his life.
Aware that he faces death, Superman makes some big decisions.
1. This is better than most Silver Age comics, but it recaptures the feel of them nicely. I wouldn’t want all of DC’s output to be like this, but it’s an entertaining read.
2. Y’know, it’s fun to see the bumbling Clark Kent again. I liked many of the post-Crisis changes, but I always felt that the assertive, football-playing version of Kent lost some of what made Superman’s dual identity work.
Yeah, I know this comic tries to capture the childlike sense of wonder associated with Superman. However, the amount of supertechnology Leo Quintum has and freely uses, without it significantly affecting human society, seems gratuitous.
Originality: 3/6 It feels fresh, despite the fact that it’s deliberately not original. I don’t recall a menace to Superman’s life working quite as this one does.
Artwork: 5/6. The artwork recalls the Silver Age, while actually being better than most DC comics from that era. Quitely’s Lois Lane looks a little too much like Barbie, however.
Let’s not get into the Kryptonian crotch shot in #1.
Story: 4/6 The story captures the sense of fun associated with traditional comics, with such things as silly banter and bits of comic-book technology. Olsen takes a jet-pack to work; Superman collects oddball wonders in his Fortress of Solitude. Can you guess the secret of Superman’s forbidden room?
Characterization: 4/6 It’s not deep, of course, but the characterization has a sense of fun, particularly the treatment of Jimmy Olsen and Perry White. Most impressive is the comic’s ability to almost persuade us that Superman’s flimsy disguise could actually work.
As much as I disliked Luthor’s return to maniac outlaw genius in regular DC continuity, Morrison handles this version of the character passably well.
Lois’s motivations in #2 seem a little strange.
Emotional response: 4/6.
Overall: 5/6 Thus far, DC achieves their stated aims of presenting Superman and his supporting cast at their most familiar, while telling a new story.
In total, All-Star Superman #1-2 receives a score of 30/42.
Infinite Crisis #4 is also out today, and features further developments. I will be reviewing that in a month, alongside #5.