Weeky Comic Round Up: All Star Superman an Old School Super Powered Fool

Doomed Planet. Desperate Scientists. Last Hope. Superman.

Superman’s a difficult character to write for. He’s omnipotent; having a huge set of powers while being almost indestructible. He’s also got his moral compass constantly pointing north. It’s hard not to find him boring because he’s the archetypical hero; strong, humble, and he stands for the American way. So why would anyone want to read All Star Superman? Well, for one reason, you’ll get to see Supes in a different light.

Everybody's working for the Weekend

Everybody’s working for the Weekend!

Dying gets to Us All

How does an omnipotent being deal with mortality? That’s the first and only question Grant Morrison wanted to pose to every fan and newbie who picked up this comic. The opening scenes of issue 1 have Superman saving a group of scientists from a ploy cooked up by Lex Luthor. Clark succeeds, as he usually does, but his reward is a super charged cancer. There is a twist to this unfortunate news though; Superman is slowly turning into pure energy, making him even more powerful than he already is.

That should make this series a lot more boring, as one of his new found powers is immunity to Kryptonite.

So, now that he’s even more super charged, what will Clark do? Well, he does what he’s good at and that’s just helping out as many people as he can. That’s the point of this whole comic, but what unfolds, if you’re willing to put up with some cheesy stuff, is truly something special.

Never Preachy, Just Hopeful

Action speaks a lot louder than words do, and Grant Morrison tries to show that off in spades. Superman’s plans in the comic don’t involve him preaching to the masses about goodness through rhetoric. Instead of finishing off his enemies, he gives them another chance like he always does. One particular arc shows him giving his more angry Kryptonian cousins mercy as they slowly die after being poisoned. In another, he gives Lois Lane every one of his powers for a period of 24 hours.

The Daily Grind

But what really got me was issue ten where he’s bombarded by hundreds of little tasks in Metropolis. He hears segments of a long conversation between a therapist and his young ward. The therapist is desperate; being delayed from his appointment by numerous problems during the day. Superman while gleaning whatever he could from the snippets of the therapist’s conversation, figures out what’s happening to the patient and does something about it. it marks a certain page in issue 10 as a real heartfelt moment in the Superman lore cannon.

The point here is that he acted rather than spoke, and when he does speak to people, it is in as few words as he can.

Rehashed, Retconned Deaths
Superman has died so many times that any event declaring his mortality can be easily shrugged off. The Death of Superman is particularly iconic, and The Dark Knight Returns also shows you an instance where he is not strong enough to give Bruce Wayne a beatdown. It’s easy to pass this comic off as another one-shot meant to give Superman mad props for being a boy scout.

Lex' Ugly Cry

Ugly cry all you want Lex

Grant Morrison doesn’t do that here. He gives future writers the ability to play around with the ending, while allowing readers to glean a sense of finality from the comic. For me, this is how I see Superman taking his final bow. Not with anger, or with preaching, nor will he spend his time inactive and afraid. He’ll just keep doing what he does, with a smile on his face and a quiet, relaxed confidence. Definitely give All Star Superman a chance if you need a feel good comic. There’s a movie out too and I actually enjoyed that ending better for the bumbling Clark Kent.

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