All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison

details
Title: All-Star Superman.
Writer(s): Grant Morrison.
Illustrator(s): Frank Quitely.
Colourist(s)Jamie Grant.
Publisher: DC Black Label.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: December 4th 2018 (first published January 2006).
Pages: 304.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401290832.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

thoughts

To add to DC’s prestigious new imprint of standalone graphic novels, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s masterpiece known as All-Star Superman finds itself reprinted for fans to visit—or revisit—and discover the zany universe fully-expanded by this legendary creative team. Collecting the complete twelve-issue comic book series, All-Star Superman was the second series to be launched under DC’s All-Star imprint after the controversial All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder by Frank Miller and Jim Lee. With the purpose to have “superstar” writers and illustrators tell a superheroes’ story without being restrained by the DC Universe continuity, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely took their chance on a Superman story that drew upon all of his greatest traits and lore to produce a timeless piece that would capture the heart of Clark Kent and Superman, but also the one of all his fans.

All-Star Superman is the apotheosis of Superman’s legacy delivered in what would feel like twelve different self-contained stories that are actually connected through one crucial premise regarding Superman’s destiny fully-plotted out by his arch-foe Lex Luthor. As time becomes luxury, Superman looks to tie-up loose ends, give the people he love and the whole world everything his mind and body can offer as well as overcome the biggest challenge he has ever had to confront. The tasks that he has yet to achieve however culminate quickly and puts Superman on a fast track towards self-achievement and complete understanding of himself and others. It is finding out if he has it in him to still follow his deeply-rooted virtuous beliefs that brings All-Star Superman to be a poignant, bizarre and emotional ride for everyone.

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I’ve come to expect Grant Morrison to not only embrace a character’s full history in each of his story arcs, but to also deliver unconventional and quirky elements that would normally pass as overzealous and ambitious, but in fact turn outs to be a tribute to a character that is beloved by millions. It is no exception in All-Star Superman as he bravely brings out some of the most outlandish elements in Superman’s science-fiction lore and builds relevant and powerful stories that highlight Superman’s greatest qualities and everything he represents. Superman and Clark Kent both show what they do for a living and why in the best of ways, especially when you wrap it around their perceptions of life and their emotions facing it. From the Underverse ruled by Bizarros to Jimmy Olsen being a superhero, there isn’t a single panel that won’t shock and awe its readers while still conveying authenticity in Superman’s character and universe.

To further accentuate the nostalgic factor that lies dormant underneath the plot for readers to discover along the way, Frank Quitely’s Golden-Age artwork style brings out a unique and peculiar tone to the plot as it successfully captures the scope of Superman’s presence and powers, but also the subtle details in his emotions and his movements. In fact, it is amazing at times how dedicated Superman can be while facing some of the worse in people and still believing that there is good in everyone even if they barely show a hint of it. The power with which Grant Morrison conveys Superman’s traits is astonishing, especially under the more eccentric direction most of the story takes. However, it is how he successfully does it through these bizarre stories that really brings me to have so much respect for his creative talents.

All-Star Superman is a quirky and enthusiastic celebration of Superman’s character as he faces his biggest trial yet.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and DC Comics for sending me a copy for review!

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Released in 2011, this was the 10th DC Universe Animated Original Movie based on the comic book of the same name!

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15 comments

  • I just can’t get past that kind of artwork. It just grates for some reason.

    Now the funny thing? I’ve watched the old cartoons from the 50’s (I think it was then) and the artwork is just like this. And I watched the trailer you provided. And I had ZERO issues with the art when it was in movie form. Sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, I really do understand. 😂 It’s partially the reason I couldn’t give it a complete 5 stars, but as I read, I got used to it and gave it less importance as the story/themes became much more interesting to me.

      Ahhh the power of animation, huh? It’s really a subjective thing in the end. But at least it’s good to know that you could manage with one more than the other here.

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’m intrigued by the artwork (your pics help!). I’ve seen this style before and it’s cool in the action, but at times the still work and expressions can be tricky.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I agree with Bookstooge too. I don’t know what is not working for me but the drawing is not for me either …

    Liked by 1 person

  • Ah, All-Star Superman…well I certainly think it’s good but I do feel it’s overrated and I don’t quite hail it as a masterpiece. Grant Morrison can be a bit hit and miss for me and ‘quirky’ is definitely the key word here (I’m nervous about checking out his new Green Lantern series as I’ve heard mixed things) but boy does he have an imagination!

    All-Star doesn’t verge too far into the bizarre and I get what Morrison was doing, as you say he does have a good grasp on the core tenets of a character as well as their history and it should definitely be applauded for that…but I do prefer stories like “For Tomorrow”, “Birthright” and “Unchained” as well as what Bendis is doing with Superman right now.

    Awesome analysis as always sir, ever thought provoking and giving me new perspectives on things like this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh, brethren, I totally understand hahahah Quirky was honestly the best way I’d have summarized it all too. I mean.. I’d have a hard time gifting this story to anyone. That alone is enough for me to know that it can’t possibly be hailed as a masterpiece hahahah But honestly, I’m a bit of a sucker for Morrison and Snyder’s crazier ideas. I like to dig deeper, read between the lines, just to find what exactly they wanted to convey with their story, but All-Star Superman is definitely on the crazier end of the spectrum hahahah I do however understand your appreciation for those other Superman classics, they’re much more palatable and just as powerful too. I’ll have to pick up some of those too. Been on my “not-read-yet” list way too long now.

      Thanks for reading, good sir! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • I like the cover update for this edition. It’s reflective of the original release cover but I like the simplicity of this cover. I am a huge fan of this artwork, honestly. I like the coloring, the line, and the pacing of the cells. Some of DC’s artwork is so *dark*. I understand the appeal of this coloring to other people, and how it aligns to the storylines, but… it’s not my jam.

    I don’t know if I’ve ever read all of these comics. Perhaps only volume 1? I don’t remember how it ends. I should pick this up again, then. I do love me a good Lex Luthor story.

    Great review, Lashaan! Thanks for reminding me of this series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m actually quite happy to hear that you know and have read it, Jackie!! 😮 Darker stories sure have become much more prominent and you’re right about the more “rainbow” experience that this one offers. By the end of it, I just felt like the artwork fit with the story and Morrison’s style.

      This story used be collected in two volumes. It was then released into one bigger volume and now rereleased as part of this DC Black Label imprint. Glad to also hear your interest in revisiting it. 😉 Thank you so much for reading! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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