Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All-Star Superman #12 Review

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant

I'm sure everyone's read the hype and press about how this issue is the greatest thing since hot pockets and I've only got one thing to say about that - nothing is greater than hot pockets. Er, I mean, it's all true (except the greater than hot pockets part).

This issue has it all - it caps off one of the greatest comic book series of all time, it wraps up the final trial of Superman in a climactic battle with Lex Luthor, it features the "death" of Superman and, unlike his Final Crisis work, Morrison's wild imagination is tempered with a passion and focus for this story that his other work simply lacks. In short, this was just another day at the office for All-Star Superman as every issue was like this.

However, in regards to this particular issue, I think many reviewers are confusing their feelings with the series, and this being the last issue and all, with the quality of this issue. Many are praising and talking about it being the greatest book ever when they are referring to the series as a whole much in the same way many great actors or directors receive awards at the end of their careers to make up for the fact they were snubbed in favour of the flavour of the month or for other reasons in their early years.

Was this issue good? Damn straight it was. Was it the best All-Star Superman issue yet and greatest comic of the past decade or ever, as many other reviewers are claiming? Far from it. I don't want to go into the reasons why it's not the greatest comic ever simply because it will give a negative overtone to a book that was simply amazing, but I just want to make it known that this is a great issue with some flaws. It's better than almost anything else you'll read this week and it has some jaw dropping moments, like Superman working inside the Sun or the final splash page, but it also has it's problems, such as the generally rushed pace of the story and rushed looking art as well as some major events that are handled so casually, such as the entire Solaris turning the Sun blue and the subsequent saving of it, that it's hard to praise this as the messiah of comic books like some others are wont to do.

However, do not let my desire to inform you that it is not the greatest comic ever dissuade or even remotely imply that this is a bad comic. We've got lots of high concepts, as you've come to expect from Morrison, as well as lots of great action and dialogue between Superman and Lex Luthor, a gravity gun and even a cameo by the Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? statue as well as some very heavy allusion to Morrison's DC One Million storyline, which the entire All-Star Superman series has been making references too. Morrison has made Superman relevant in a way that no other writer has managed and this is simply one of the best comics you could give to a fan or non-fan alike and I'm sure they'll enjoy it.

Verdict - Must Read. I could have bashed my head against the keyboard and put out some mangled review and I'd still expect you people to buy this book without the need for a review, but it had to be done. Buy this book!

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