08 January 2008

All-Star Superman vol. 1

This hardcover collection includes the first six issues of the Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (the alter-ego of Glasgow-based artist, Vincent Deighan) Superman series. Not bound to any continuity, Morrison has a free hand to tell any Superman stories that he wants and what he wants to tell are the Silver Age-type stuff. No angst and with just a dash of silliness (but the good kind of silly...like arm wrestling Atlas and Samson so they will leave Lois alone). It would be wrong to call All Star Superman campy. Rather, it is a Superman title where anything can happen, giving it a both modern and retro feeling to it.

For someone like me who is not a huge Superman fan, this book is wonderful because the absence of any continuity baggage means I can just enjoy the book without worrying what is what, though there is the prerequisite origin story on the very first page. Just one page, though.

Basically my love for All-Star Superman comes from the pretentious-free intelligence of the book. Frank Quitely's beautiful art may look plain to some but it is actually quite subtle. Sometimes you don’t even notice little things that Superman has done or fixed, because Superman’s that fast and that good. Luckily, we have a single panel that freezes it in time, and if we take the time to delve, Quitely rewards us. Jamie Grant's digital colouring should share credit as well. It is simply stunning. The book also treats its characters with respect and lets them talk like people, instead of walking exposition/plot devices. The Jimmy Olsen spotlight issue, for example, finally gave me a clear idea as to just why Superman would be best friends with a kid like Jimmy.

All Star Superman is a fun comic book about a powerful man who chooses to do good because he can and wants to. Now, who doesn't want to read that?

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