Tuesday, December 06, 2005

ALL STAR SUPERMAN #1

Who knew?

After the awesome drek that was All-Star Batman & Robin, the Ultimate DCU All-Star project had a dark cloud hanging over it like the news that Halle Berry had signed a three-picture deal to make Catwoman movies. Sure, the Superman book would feature the reuniting of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, but... Frank Miller and Jim Lee sounded promising in the solicits, too.

This was fun. In no small part because it has nothing to do with Infinite Crisis -- which seems to have a black hole vacuum effect on my ability to read comics -- but mostly because it's got attitude.

Reducing the origin story to one page was marvelously cheeky precisely because Morrison could. We all know the tale, so there's no need to waste time on it. On to the next bit of business and then the next and then the next. This debut had a fantastic pace, deftly bobbing and weaving in the fight against the Exposition Fairy to explain how this universe is different from everywhere else in the DCU (a skill that will prove more necessary and sadly more rare in the coming year). In no order: Lex Luthor's status is revealed, Lois Lane and the staff at the Daily Planet is brought in, the peril explained, the protagonists introduced, the primum mobile plot device brought out, and the status of Lois and Clark is not only explained but also changed... all in 22 pages.

Brian Bendis's head is still spinning three weeks later.

After all this time, there are no truly unique spins on Superman anymore. But Morrison does cobble together a pretty good basis for a story arc: a Superman in cahoots with a mad scientist benefactor (or is he?), a Superman who knows that he is dying a slow death and has time to make preparations, and a Lex Luthor who is far more clever than anyone else has written him recently save for Brian Azzarello. These bits -- along with the last page reveal by Clark -- have legs.

Because it's a valid comparison point: I thought the accolades Morrison got for his X-Men run were overstated. It was good in that it was interesting, but it wasn't fall-over-yourself awesome and not all the Chuck Austen that followed is going to make me think that the run was landmark. I think he can do as well, if not better, here. I liked Morrison's JLA run quite a bit -- not as much as Waid's, but it was a great restart to the series -- and Superman is a property with enough flexibility that Morrison can play.

For the record, I still am not a fan of Quitely's art, but his lantern-jawed Supes and vapid-looking women weren't too distracting. (Which is about as high praise as I'm willing to offer a man who managed to make Jean Grey ugly and unattractive.)



I seem to be making these "not dead, only resting" explanations too often. So I won't. In terms of catching up on comics... I will be trying. Working the insectivore claws on Infinite Crisis is both too easy and too hard -- it's like aiming at an elephant with a self-targeting missile in that it's impossible to miss, but on the other hand it is incredible draining to work up the energy to do so. All I know is that the DCU I generally liked -- hadn't loved in a little bit -- is gone and that almost everything I liked about it is going with it. If I let myself care, then I'm opening up all the wounds at once. I'm just... very tired of watching the things I enjoy get ground into tiny little pieces.

3 Comments:

Blogger Rob S. said...

Welcome back, Shrew!

Wed Dec 07, 08:03:00 PM EST  
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Mon Jan 21, 05:02:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Watch Movie said...

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Mon Nov 29, 07:51:00 PM EST  

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