Saturday, December 23, 2017

Why You Should Read "All-Star Superman"

He stands for truth, justice, and the American way...until the end of time.

Whether you love him or hate him, think he's overpowered or overrated, you have to admit that Superman is the hero you want to to fly down and save you when you're in trouble. But being the "old man" in comic books, it is easy for comic book readers to forget why Superman is interesting and a lot of fans will be drawn to the hundreds of other superheroes. "All-Star Superman" is one story that reminds people why Superman is such an important and awesome character.

There are actually a lot of great Superman stories out there, but one of the reasons why I personally enjoy "All-Star Superman" is because it takes him from being just another comic book superhero to the position an American god who could rival the ancient Greek hero Heracles (or Hercules for you Romans out there). "All-Star Superman" makes the classic hero feel larger than life and incorruptible, but at the same time he longs to be human and loves his adoptive planet.

Writer Grant Morrison presents readers with a Superman who is capable of feats like helping man achieve space travel to the sun, arm-wrestling with Atlas and Samson, and escaping a Bizarro world. But Morrison also remembers that Superman is more than super-strength and incredible abilities, and shows that Superman is just as concerned about visiting children in the hospital as he is fighting giant robots. 

But I can't just credit Grant Morrison for creating this masterpiece of a graphic novel, I also have to give some praise to artist Frank Quitely. I honestly don't think that I would call Quitely one of my favorite comic book artists, but I do think that his Superman is one of my favorites. Not only is Quitely's Superman heroic and humble, his Clark Kent legit looks barely like his alter ego. Messy hair, large glasses, a hunchback, and baggy clothes would keep most from suspecting mild-mannered Clark Kent as the Man of Steel.

Each chapter of "All-Star Superman" shows Superman taking on a challenge that is seemingly more impossible than the last until it is time for his death. HOLD ON! That's not really a spoiler. "All-Star Superman" opens up with Superman saving the first manned mission to the sun from Lex Luthor, but the overexposure to the sun's energy powers up his cells to the point that they start to deteriorate. Knowing that he's running out of time, Superman focuses on doing all he can to make sure that the earth will be safe after he passes. 

And since I just mentioned him, I should probably talk about how "All-Star Superman" also presents one of the best versions of Lex Luthor. He is a mad genius who is capable of saving the world with his knowledge and cleverness, but because Lex is so obsessed with Superman, he's kept from reaching his full potential. Lex Luthor is truly someone who is his own worst enemy.

But just because Superman is all that Lex Luthor can think about, Lex is far from the most important person in Superman's life. No, that honor goes to intrepid and honest reporter Lois Lane. Instead of just giving readers a beautiful woman for Superman to fawn over, he is courageous, witty, and sincere, everything that Superman loves about the earth and humanity. Whenever Superman declares his love and dedication to Lois Lane, he is also showing his love for the world he calls home.

There is so much more that I want to go over in "All-Star Superman", but I honestly think that a lot of this story needs to be experienced first-hand, though I might end up writing an article in the future comparing "All-Star Superman" with another of Morrison's graphic novels, "Batman RIP". 

If you like Superman, you need to read "All-Star Superman". If you hate Superman, you need to read "All-Star Superman". If you're just a fan of ancient myths and heroes, you need to read "All-Star Superman".

ISSUES: All-Star Superman #1-12 (2005)

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