Friday, March 28, 2008

Comics Out March 26, 2008

All Star Superman 10. Though I thought the last issue of this, published many wagons ago, was weak (click the links to see the review), this one was quite good and renewed my thought that I had back when issue two came out that this is the definitive Superman in the way Dark Knight Returns is the definitive Batman. I will have to read them all again when the series is done -- probably when DC talks me into paying for the whole series again in "Absolute" form.

As for the specifics of this issue: Much of this issue is about the power of words and images: the sick kids at the hospital draw pictures of Superman, he writes his will out, the sphere thing talks in advanced text messaging, Superman copies the "letters" of his DNA code, Clark Kent gets the story of the century at the end; on the pocket universe (Nebolah?), our world -- the "world without Superman" (nice retool of a bad title) -- creation is the theme: art on cave walls and sculptures, the idea that we could potentially be as great as our created Gods (from a Renaissance hermetic text I cannot remember the name of just now, but I have it in a Bloom book somewhere), Nietzsche (a bit of a cliche, but still, I suppose it has to be there), the invention of Superman because he does not exist. The empty space on the first panel with the goth girl, and the way her colors clashed with Superman as he instantly appears behind her, was very well done. The "lighting" on the cover is amazing -- Jamie Grant is amazing -- and I really like that Earth has weather, since it rarely does when shown on images like this (I am always reminded of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 line at the Universal logo: "it's the nicest weather Earth's ever had"). The only thing that rang false was Lex Luthor reading a bad self help book -- I would have thought he would have thought that beneath him. Excellent that he says nothing, in any case. All in all it felt like a much better version of that "Superman" issue of Astro City where Samaritan is so harried he has so little time for loved ones (one of the first issues; my memory is not that good).

I know a lot of people don't like All Star Batman, and I know the publishing delays on the All Star books can get silly, but for my mind this is a much better thing than Marvel's Ultimate line: great creators working on prestige versions recognizable superheroes without all the absurd continuity. The Ultimate line had something like that for a minute, but once you start getting your issue numbers on individual books into the triple digits I can't help but think that you may have missed the point.

In Comics News a judge awarded Jerry Siegel's heirs the copyright to the Superman material in Action Comics #1. I am not quite sure what that means but the New York Times says it could go the same way for the Schusters and then "After 2013, Time Warner couldn’t exploit any new Superman-derived works without a licence from the Siegels and Shusters,” said Toberoff, who also represents the Shuster estate." Newsarama also has a big interview with Mark Millar, who I am sick of, and a preview of Secret Invasion #1, which I do not really care about. I am trying to cut down on comics I am not crazy about.

15 comments:

scott s said...

All Star Superman was one of the best single issues of a comic I've ever read. The Nietzsche pic was a little ridiculous, but Superman legitimately "becomes who he is" in this series. I was amazed at how emotional I got reading it; I think I cared about Superman for the first time in my life.

Ultimate Matt said...

I agree; this instantly became both one of my favorite Superman stories, as well as one of favorite Morrison stories.

Mitch said...

Me three. A great, great, great issue. I love the idea that Superman created OUR Earth and the comparison between Planet Q and the Bottle City of Kandor.

Also-- does everyone still think Leo Quinton is Braniac or something? I do. "I could be the very devil himself."

Mitch said...

Me three. A great, great, great issue. I love the idea that Superman created OUR Earth and the comparison between Planet Q and the Bottle City of Kandor.

Also-- does everyone still think Leo Quinton is Braniac or something? I do. "I could be the very devil himself."

ben said...

Quintum pretty much -has- to be a good guy, in my mind. It doesn't matter if he lives or dies, Superman can only win this thing if his trust in humanity is justified. Leo Quintum is the grown-up Jimmy Olsen, he's the good Lex Luthor, he's a chromosome-swapped Lois who went into science rather than journalism.

Streebo said...

Yay - I just picked up this issue of All Star Superman today! I was wondering why Geoff glossed over it in his previous comments. Glad to hear it was worth the wait.

scott91777 said...

Geoff, I was noticing something funny about the time stamps for Earth-Q... The one where we see Siegel & Shuster creating Superman? The time stamp puts it BEFORE all the others.
Thoughts? I have an idea.

David Golding said...

I liked the Nietzsche, because it is a rescue of him from the wholly negative usage by people who have only read what he wrote in Watchmen.

And I believe Quitely is colouring his own covers now (since #8?).

David Golding said...

And a Bloomean question for you: in the Miller/Morrison agon, how does Miller's Batman look if he can't handle Morrison's Superman, only a dopey dupe?

David Golding said...

And also along those lines, you might like this post from Cowboy Scientist over on Barbelith:

[...] "the real world" being inside Qwewq; something that has the side-efect of putting the mainstream DC continuity inside the comic books of Earth-Q; making the "official" DCU versions of these characters flawed (by continuity? by crap writing?) reflections of the bigger and more iconic, more pure A*S universe; thus making the "All-Star" Superman is the REAL Superman.

Streebo said...

I was wondering when Morrison would do something with Superman's ability to shoot miniature Superman's out of his wrist. What a great comic. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside- Gary Groth be damned.

Mikey said...

I want to resist the temptation of once again trying to figure how Morrison writes himself/aspects of his personality into the story.

But Quintum saying that his attempts to replicate Superman's DNA had only ever resulted in faulty Bizarro versions reminded me of an interview Morrison gave before the book started. He'd been puzzling over how to write Superman, he didn't 'get' the character, until he saw a guy dressed in a perfect Superman costume at a con. How relaxed and chilled that guy was made it all click (and was, I think, the inspiration for the first issue's cover). He interviewed this Superman who answered in character and he finally figured out a new, perfect version of Superman.

Mirroring that moment, in this issue it's Superman himself who provides the science-explorer with the key to unlocking his DNA and combining it with something more human.

This issue had some of the most astonishing (but light) moments in a Morrison comic since his 'World War Three' JLA story.

Mikey said...

Hmm, just to say that by 'light', I think what I was getting at was light of touch. Or, rather, that I didn't feel pressured into being impressed. I just was.

Anonymous said...

Can please somone tell me which Renaissance text or philosopher is quoted? Thanks!

(I LOVE that issue)

V.

Darius Kazemi said...

I too was taken aback at Luthor's choice of reading, but then I remembered that it would take him approximately two minutes to finish that book, so... eh, might as well read what you can while you're in prison, I guess.