Superman by Grant Morrison Omnibus

details
Title: Superman by Grant Morrison Omnibus.
Writer(s): Grant Morrison, Sholly Fisch & Max Landis.
Artist(s): Rags Morales, Andy Kubert, Brad Walker, Brent Anderson, Rick Bryant, Cafu, Chriscross, John Dell, Jesse Delperdang, Travel Foreman, Gene Ha, Cully Hammer, Andrew Hennessy, Bob McLeod, Ben Oliver, Seam Parsons, Mark Propst, Cam Smith, Ryan Sook, Chris Sprouse & Karl Story.
Colourist(s): Brad Anderson, Jordie Bellaire, David Curiel, Gabe Eltaeb, Art Lyon, Dave McCaig, Jay David Ramos, Brian Reber, Ryan Sook, Val Staples & José Villarrubia.
Letterer(s): Patrick Brosseau, Taylor Esposito, Carlos M. Mangual, Dezi Sienty & Steve Wands.
PublisherDC Comics.

Format
: Hardcover – Omnibus.
Release Date: May 25th 2021.
Pages: 680.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781779513977.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

thoughts

Set within The New 52 continuity, DC Comics sees to the Action Comics comic book series rebooting of its numbering for the first time since 1938 as they bring in legendary comic book writer Grant Morrison and artist Rag Morales together to tell Clark Kent’s history from the very beginning, before the world would see him for who he is: their Man of Steel. In an effort to reshape his story by drawing upon the rich lore already established throughout countless stories written and drawn by a myriad of creators, this creative team looks to explore his journey to help the vulnerable despite ill-intentioned individuals prone to foil any form of peace in Metropolis. This stunning omnibus thus contains Action Comics #0-18 and Action Comics Annual #1.

What is Superman by Grant Morrison Omnibus about? It explores Clark Kent’s early days in Metropolis, rushing around to save lives and defeat evil with his ripped jeans, blue t-shirt, and his trusty crest in the middle of his chest. Sassy and over-confident, he goes around the city accomplishing the impossible while also working his way towards building his career in journalism as Clark Kent. As the intergalactic threats start to cumulate, Superman also starts to find new allies, including Dr. John Henry Irons, who eventually embraces his role as Steel. Simultaneously, this omnibus explores Krypton’s fate and parallel universes, introducing us to Calvin Ellis (both the president of the United States and an Afro-American Superman) or Krypto. While Clark Kent learns to navigate through his troubles, often finding himself at an impasse, whether he likes it or not, he nevertheless quickly learns the hard way how to become the hero the world needs.

“If compelled to choose between your home planet or your adopted world, which would it be? Which is stronger? Nature or nurture?”

— Grant Morrison

You have to give it to him. Writer Grant Morrison understands that Clark Kent/Superman is a complex entity that can be dissected into countless themes, genres, and adventures. He can fight for the truth as a young adult dreaming to work for the largest journal company in Metropolis. He can promote justice by dedicating every second of his life as a walking god among humans. He can embrace identity crises as he tries to understand what it means to be a hero and what it takes to achieve that status. He can be challenged into blinded loyalty to the planet he was born on or determined fatalism by playing hero to a city he loves despite its citizens fearing him. And Grant Morrison does all that without a problem.

But what’s really bothersome is that he does all that without any sense of logic, order, or care. One second you might be reading about Clark Kent and his first love before he goes to Metropolis and the next second you’ll be following Superman going through the Phantom Zone trying to understand what Mxyzptlk wants from him. And that’s what determines how much you’ll enjoy Grant Morrison’s take on Superman before it’s handed over to writers Andy Diggle and Greg Pak. While there are some quirky, eccentric, and over-the-top ideas being scrutinized without any desire for structure, it’s in the unapologetic vision of Clark Kent/Superman that you’ll enjoy Grant Morrison’s take on the hero, ultimately both provocative and stimulating.

As anyone could’ve guessed, the artwork fits within the theme of confusion and Grant Morrison’s erratic and grandiose vision. When it’s a filler issue written by someone other than Grant Morrison, often just exploring a very specific and mundane gimmick in under 10 pages, the artwork would be just as rough as the narrative structure. However, for the most part, you will notice some excellent, dynamic, and explosive sequences that capture the most intense moments encountered in all of its beautiful and vibrant energy. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the quirky story-telling elements were also just as quirkily portrayed artistically. Always aiming for the extremes, going beyond the established borders of our imagination regarding well-known superheroes, readers won’t be disappointed to see all the good, the bad, and the ugly wrapped up neatly in this omnibus.

Superman by Grant Morrison Omnibus is an ambitious yet irritating reintroduction of Clark Kent’s boundless history and his journey to donning the mantle of the Man of Steel.


EXHIBITA
Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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16 comments

  • Flipping through the artwork samples I think it works for me, I like it. And I suppose I can understand some of the desires for a reboot of a popular character, especially one that started so long ago. It can help bring it to the modern audience, make it feel more theirs perhas than the older stories might have, if they were even able to get them. I do like your description of it, “an ambitious yet irritating reintroduction.” I’m not exactly sure what that says about it. 🙂

    You might have mentioned this before and I’ve forgotten (I apologize, if so), but can you give a high level view of what The New 52 continuity means?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Artwork is probably its strongest element, to be honest. Grant Morrison can be quite crazy with his ideas and he doesn’t bother holding your hand as he goes through each of them at the speed of light. As for rebooting. It’s sort of inevitable every time DC or Marvel decides to reboot their universe. I like to see those reboots as an opportunity for new writers to tell a story their way. Even if some elements of known, it’s the “how” that makes it all so interesting in the end. In this case, I don’t think Grant Morrison did a good job in making Superman that accessible for newcomers or that original for veteran readers.

      The New 52 is DC’s reboot of the DC universe back in 2011. It’s set after the events of their classic and canonical “Flashpoint” story/event. As of 2011, every comic book series pretty much started from scratch with #1s and new comic book series were launched too.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Yeah, I actually read this one! 😉 Was a bit less forgiving than you, Lashaan – no surprises there ;). You’re very kind to Morrison; what you call erratic I’d call brainless… 😀 It’s like the guy had a 100 ideas a minute and decided all of them are worth a try, and didn’t bother with fleshing them out or even thinking through their consequences. Flashy! Fast! Smash! Ooo, something glitters out there! Let’s check it out! It’s like Alvin and Chipmunks on steroids and with some unpleasant side effects from last week’s drinking binge. That’s Morrison for you, though 😉
    Great review, Lashaan!

    Liked by 2 people

    • In all honestly, if (or when) I reread this, I am VERY likely to be much less forgiving and soooo much more like you with it. It’s such a wild take on Superman, and compared to what Scott Snyder did with Batman, this one looks truly mediocre. In all honestly, the more I dig into his past work, less I am inclined to call him a master storyteller. I’m truly biased by some of his classics that I read first but nowadays, the dude’s imagination is all over the place! 😛 Thanks for reading, Ola!

      Liked by 1 person

  • This was actually the first ongoing Superman series I ever read. I found that some of the storylines worked fairly well, but others really came out of left field. The section where he allows “Clark Kent” to die so he can save people’s lives in his private life as well just felt pointless. Grant Morrison can be a fascinating writer, but he tends to embrace the weird and obscure a bit too often, and this series is one of those times where he went a bit overboard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. He has some good ideas. It’s his wild execution that makes his Superman run seem so messy. I too found that sequence where he let “Clark Kent” die a bit too much. The more I read stuff by him nowadays, the more I notice that he simply has no control over his narrative flow.

      Like

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