Monday, November 21, 2005

All-Star Superman #1

Doomed Planet. Desperate Scientists. Last Hope. Kindly Couple. Enter, the majestic two-page spread of Superman. I know my blog is not about reviewing the superhero-type comics, but when I first saw the cover to Superman #1, I knew it was a match made in heaven. I am a sucker for good cover art--seriously, I'll make the decision to buy based solely on the look of the cover. I do it with books, too. Usually, the artwork is a pretty good indicator of the overall quality from cover-to-cover. This first edition is no exception.

About the author, Grant Morrison: be careful when you visit this website, it's like looking directly into the sun. Morrison has an amazing rap sheet including an inexhaustible list of the following greats: Batman: Arkham Asylum, Doom Patrol, The Filth, The Invisibles, Kill Your Boyfriend, and New X-Men.

About the artist, Frank Quitely: Quitely's rap sheet is equally as impressive with art appearing in some fashion or another in the following titles: JLA: Earth, Authority, The Greens, Blackheart, Missionary Man, Shimura, Inaba, The Kingdom: Offspring, Judge Dredd, Fleetway, Batman: The Scottish Connection, The Sandman, Flex Mantallo, Captain America, and The New X-Men. Whew...barely in one breath!

Superman MajesticSynopsis (with spoilage) and Review: Like I said, I'm a beginner to the superhero stuff, so I can't rattle off a historiography on how Superman has been portrayed since the character's inception. However, I was surprised, and impressed, with the modern vibe of this story. For instance, there is this weird "genetically modified suicide bomb in human form," disrupting a philanthropist's quest to "map the sun." Interesting modification to the scary modern day concept of suicide bombers.

Lex Luther is working for the government, but he seems to have a different agenda in trying to destroy Superman. Superman develops a new power--the ability to create a bioelectric field of protection, but unfortunately, Superman's cells were damaged (super-saturated with solar radiation) by the sun. Which means he's slowly dying. The issue closes with Lex Luther being arrested for crimes against humanity and Clark Kent exposing his alter ego to Lois, in the public streets before her apartment.

I didn't understand two things about Clark revealing his identity so early. First, in the movies, I always felt like there was this annoying tension created by desperately wanting Clark to tell Lois that he is Superman. People want that fanciful, romantic ending, but here, his identity has already been revealed. Second, why in the street? Why not in her apartment?

I like that something other than a kryptonite crystal is the bane of Superman's existence. The modern feel of the story is intriguing. It will be interesting to read the unfolding drama related to finding a genetic anti-dote to Superman's cell degeneration and to Lex Luther's jealousy of Superman.

Recommendation: Buy #2. This is a classic. Go buy the first edition and encapsulate it for your kids 30 in the future. I'm excited about this story.


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