Author: Grant Morrison
Illustrator: Frank Quitely
Publisher: DC Comics
I was unsure of what to expect when I first picked up this novel. After all, it is Superman, who to me often seems a little too invincible. Add to that the premise of the novel that Superman, in attempting to save a group of astronauts from being scorched by the sun, is overloaded with radiation, giving him magnified powers. Only Lex Luthor knows that secretly his cells are dying inside due to the overexposure.
What attracted me to the novel was Grant Morrison, who really is a brilliant writer. This is a fun series — Lois Lane gets super powers for a day; Superman is exposed to black Kryptonite, making him evil (and a little dim-witted); and as Clark Kent, has an opportunity to interview Lex Luthor in the penitentiary (that predictably goes awry).
Superman is still iconic in the novel, but is not the Christ-like savior depicted in most Superman scripts. His powers are not used to save the world in any point in the novel, but to win Lois’s affection and when turning evil, to attack Jimmy Olsen. I wasn’t particularly fond of the knightly contest with Atlas and Samson to win Lois (it seemed somewhat absurd and dated), but most of the story left a smile on my face.
Frank Quitely’s artwork is truly superb. With very few lines, the emotion of each character leaps out of the page. Lois is truly stunning. The depiction of Clark Kent is brilliant as well — his superhero physique hidden beneath his suit gives him an almost pudgy appearance.
Lex Luthor’s character is (as typical) a bit one-dimensional, focused solely on destroying Superman. He is not able to figure out that Clark Kent is Superman, even though he compares their builds and also notices that they have the same eyebrows. I suppose that just adds to the mythos that is Superman — even Lois Lane was flabbergasted to find out his true identity.
All Star Superman is a fun read for those who want a departure from gritty, dark comics, without being juvenile. I am excited to read the second volume to conclude the series.