November 17, 2005

pneuman generator

All-Star Superman #1, then. I've been waiting for this one eagerly ever since it was announced--Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely are the only team that's pulled off this many mainstream comics projects successfully since Claremont/Byrne, and part of what I love about them is that (unlike Claremont/Byrne) they don't just do their thing on every comic they work on. They think really hard about look-and-feel. The Invisibles wasn't like Flex Mentallo, which wasn't like Earth 2, which wasn't like New X-Men, and none of that was like We3. And their Superman is, once again, a new tack for them.

The All-Star concept (famous characters, big-name creators, The Way You Like It) seemed a little dubious to me--especially since DC hasn't been trying to do mainstream outreach with it the way Marvel handled the Ultimate titles--and All-Star Batman & Justice have both been the kinds of pretentiously serious claptrap that makes me roll my eyes so hard I can see my ears. Morrison's concept for Superman, though, is audacious enough that it works: The Best Comic about The Best Hero. The point isn't dramatic impact or conceptual complexity the way it is in some of his other comics, it's page-for-page wheeeeee! value. And this isn't a gently winking homage to the Mort Weisinger-era stuff the way, say, Alan Moore's "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" was: it's Morrison (and Quitely) figuring out what made those comics work, and how to do the same thing ramped up for 2005.

Specific things I love: the compressed narrative playing out in what looks like contemporary decompressed style (which really just means space for Quitely's drawings to breathe--it reads very quickly, but there's actually a whole lot of stuff happening); the four-panel, eight-word origin recap that opens the first issue (and doesn't it contrast nicely with All-Star Batman's tooth-gritting multi-issue expansion of Robin's origin?); Jimmy Olsen's helmet, jet-pack and "super-watch"; the way we jump smack into Luthor's "reformation" and fall by way of Perry White's blatantly expository dialogue, and Luthor's motivation; Dr. Quintum's rainbow jacket and I'm-going-to-be-a-villain-later-on foreshadowing; "The DNA P.R.O.J.E.C.T."; "the infinitesimal yoctosphere"; Clark disguising his three-steps-ahead reflexes as clumsiness; and that wonderful cliffhanger at the end.

Baffling thing: given Morrison's insistence that Superman "always finds a way to solve every single problem without anyone being hurt," what's he doing throwing the "self-actualizing" suicide bomber into the sun in Morrison's very first story?

Posted by Douglas at November 17, 2005 1:02 AM | TrackBack

I thought it was the "self-actualizing" bit that got Supes off the hook: letting a being die in the way that it's genetically programmed to die doesn't conflict with his code against killing. (Otherwise he should be working on a cure for cancer.) Throwing the human bomb guy into the sun didn't kill him -- it just gave him a place to explode without harming anyone else.

Posted by: gabe on November 18, 2005 10:20 AM
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