Authors: Grant Morrison
Illustrators: Frank QuitelyPublisher: DC
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The All Star
(This article contains spoilers for The Death of Superman).
All Star Superman is the single greatest Superman story ever told. With rich characters, fantastic storytelling, truly beautiful art, and a strong emotional core, this is the best experience I’ve ever personally had reading comics.
Superman has died before. In 1992 DC Comics ran the Death of Superman arc, where the Man of Steel was bested by the demonic Doomsday. Naturally, it turns out Superman wasn’t dead, but instead in a coma like state. He was awakened and promptly returned to being the end all badass. Where some might find that arc lacking emotional impact, those who read All Star Superman will find the opposite.
Lex Luthor has successfully completed his plan to kill Superman once and for all. The Man of Steel is tricked into rescuing a group of scientists working near the sun, which causes an overdose of solar radiation. Instead of absorbing the sun’s rays and gaining power from them like he normally would, the intense concentrations of radiation cause Superman’s cells to start overloading and as a result they literally begin bursting. Within months Superman will die. With no way out, and a city and a lover that still need him, Superman does what he does best, he simply continues being the world’s greatest hero.
In such a hopeless scenario, it’d be hard to imagine maintaining any sense of hope or dignity, but that’s why Superman is here. He is the ultimate role model. He never lies, he does the best he possibly can in any given situation, he fights for truth and justice, and even in the face of his doom he carries on. Morrison perfectly captures the essence of Superman. He is every bit the noble alien that we’ve come to know and love in the past 75 years. The writing never comes off as cheesy (there’s none of that, “must…stop…bad…guys…or…else…” nonsense that plagues many Superman stories), and the secondary characters are as interesting as Supes himself.
Quitely’s art is nothing short of legendary. The realism captured in the faces of every character, as well as the superb job done on highlighting and coloring make almost every panel an iconic work of art. This book radiates that classic Superman feel from the golden age. There’s no attempt to modernize the outfit or “S” logo, which in my opinion, has always diminished the greatness of Superman. The art in this book perfectly represents the title. If you’re a fan of awesome and powerful imagery, this is just the thing for you.
All Star Superman probably won’t be topped (at least by any other Superman story) ever. This is the perfect look at the most iconic and well known superhero on the face of our planet. With a strong story that will likely make you cry, literally perfect art, and the craziest, most interesting adventures the Man of Steel has ever had, this is a perfect book. Have I said perfect enough? No. This is perfect. Read it as soon as you get the chance. Superman fan or not, it’s impossible not to be touched by this book.