Countdown to Batman Vs. Superman: All Star Superman (Comic Review)

Superman_All-Star_Superman_002In the days leading up to Batman Vs. Superman, some of us here at whysoblu wanted to discuss our favorite Batman and Superman comics to recognize and appreciate the storied history of these characters. So without further ado…

All Star Superman was such a breath of fresh air for me. I honestly though that I genuinely didn’t care about Superman anymore. Don’t get me wrong, when Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster introduced this iconic hero, it forever changed the world of comic books, and it did so for the better. For that, I will be forever grateful, but as new comics and new characters emerged, the golden boy of comics faded into the background, and I was okay with that. After all, one of the most difficult characters to write has to be one with near omnipotent powers. Here’s a guy who shrugs off bullets, can fly around the planet, and blast laser beams out of his eyes. While it may be fun to see somebody who can do everything, the immediate issue is why bother writing it? If he can beat any foe, if he’s powerful enough to overcome any obstacle, what drama is left? This is why I love All Star Superman, because it goes back to the roots, and found a new way to tell a FANTASTIC story.

This Eisner award winning book, written by the legendary Grant Morrison (Invisibles, Doom Patrol) and illustrated by the one-of-a-kind Frank Quitely (We3, Jupiter’s Legacy), is basically the perfection of a Superman mini-series. I know that this is a gargantuan statement to make regarding one of comics most beloved heroes, who has decades upon decades of history, but I absolutely stand by this assessment. Here we have two of the very best creators the industry has to offer, and it pays off. This isn’t your stereotypical Superman story, yet it covers all of the stereotypical tropes, and it cements you in the Superman framework.

All Star Superman doesn’t fall into the regular Superman running series, but I feel it’s all the better for that. Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly created a boiled down version of all the best things about Superman, and they did it within a twelve issue series. By having this book stand alone, outside of canon, the restraints were removed for the creative team. They were free to tell whatever story they thought best, with no hesitation about disrupting continuity.

The series starts with Lex Luthor devising a way to finally thwart his nemesis, Superman. He imperils a group of astronauts, flying dangerously close to the sun. Lex knows that Superman would have to go save them, and he also knows that Superman is powered by Earth’s yellow sun. He hopes that when Superman flies that close to the sun in order to save the astronauts, he’ll be overcharged, and destroyed. And he’s mostly successful. Superman does indeed save the scientists, and he does so at great cost. He doesn’t die right there and then, but returns to Earth to realize that his body has in fact been overwhelmed, and that his time left alive is running out quickly. This is where the story really takes off. What would Superman do if he knew his demise was right around the corner? How would he spend that precious time? How could he handle his personal affairs, while simultaneously ensuring that he can do the most good in his limited time?

It’s a beautiful story which cuts to the core of the character that is Superman. All of the most important people in his life turn up throughout the pages. Louis Lane, Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Jimmy Olsen, the Kents, and even Krytpo the super dog all make appearances, and some of them are my favorite appearances in comics (the Bizarro in this book is unparalleled). I would probably suggest All Star Superman book to any reader curious about getting there toes wet with Superman because it’s simultaneously modern and nostalgic. It provides a clear insight to who Superman is as a character in a condensed serving.


I’m not generally one for feel good books, which I suppose explains my tendency to prefer Batman books, but All Star Superman is an exception. Throughout the series, Clark is just such a good guy, he means so well. He cares with all of his heart, but he’s also humble, stoic, and selfless. While he may be a on a crusade, he’s neither reckless nor rushed about it, he just does what he can to the best of his ability. It’s heart warming.

Frank Quitely’s art is perfect for this kind of story. It’s exaggerated, and bold, befitting for such a fantastic plot. It also conveys the emotion of the characters better than almost any other artist I can think of. The book is bright, colorful, and, given the circumstances, surprisingly lighthearted.

All things considered, I give this All Star Superman a solid 5 out of 5 “S’s”. It made me love Superman again, and try as I might, I really can’t think any serious flaws with it.





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