All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely & Jamie Grant
Might contain spoilers.
Beautiful. Stupendous. Epic. Poignant. Moving. Inspiring. Brilliant.
This is without question my favourite Superman story (either Kingdom Come or Superman: Secret Identity would be next on the list). I can’t call it heartbreaking despite the tears that flowed several times even during this sixth reading, because All-Star Superman is the definition of hope. It understands the central concept in a way no else ever has, and gleefully deploys an array of delightful golden age (or inspired-by-the-golden-age) characters and devices alongside the expected modern characters and tropes.
I’m not as taken with the art as with the writing. I find the style a bit strange now and then. It’s a shame as well about the mild objectification of the women, which feels out of step with the rest of the story. Still, said art illuminates the writing and tells the story, which is enough.
The episode where Jonathan Kent dies elevates it from an already unbelievably great story into a timeless masterpiece. Bringing in the time-travelling ‘Superman Squad’ and tying it all together with the golden Superman-Prime from D.C. One Million is sheer genius. I still get goosebumps just thinking of that Superman’s immortal words to a grieving, distraught, uncomprehending Kal-El:
This is an indestructible flower from New Krypton. For him, from all of us. In remembrance of all that we are. And all that we will be.
The notes from the creators at the end of this ‘Absolute’ edition are a treasure trove of information. It’s a pleasure to see how much thought they put into creating a believable distinction between Clark Kent and Superman. It’s a great idea, too, to have all of Clark’s supposed accidents actually be about saving lives.