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Cover image for All-star Superman
All-star Superman



New York : DC Comics, [2007]
Physical Description:
1 volume (153 pages) : chiefly color illustrations ; 27 cm.
Series title(s):
Number in series:
v. 1 -- ... Faster ... -- Superman's hidden room -- Sweet dreams, Super Woman -- The Superman/Jimmy Olson war! -- The Gospel according to Lex Luthor -- Funeral in Smallville -- v. 2 -- Being Bizarro -- Us do opposite -- Curse of the replacement Superman -- Neverending -- Red sun day -- Superman in excelsis v. 2 -- Being bizarro -- Us do opposite -- Curse of the replacement Supermen -- Neverending -- Red sun day -- Superman in excelsis.
Presents a new version of the story of Superman, following his activities as a superhero and his interactions with Lois Lane, Jimmy Olson, and Lex Luthor.


Call Number

On Order



Two of the comics industry's top creative talents, writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely, the acclaimed team behind Jla: Earth 2, reunite to redefine Superman based on the timeless, iconic elements of the Man of Steel. In this first volume, the World's Greatest Super-Hero rescues a doomed group of astronauts on the surface of the sun when he's exposed to massive amounts of solar radiation. No one could have anticipated how he'll be affected--except Lex Luthor!

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Morrison's superb Superman stories can be poignant, action-packed or downright silly, often in the same tale. An expedition to the heart of the sun is sabotaged by Lex Luthor, who would stand to profit from a global water shortage. Superman saves the day, but at a steep cost--his encounter with the sun alters him at a cellular level, and it looks like the Man of Steel actually faces death. The big story deals with Luthor's fervent quest to outlive his enemy, even as he himself sits on death row. The episodic tales along the way are the real delight, though: Superman reveals his true identity to Lois, but she doesn't believe him; for her birthday he gives her a potion which makes her a superwoman for 24 hours; Jimmy Olson becomes "eccentric zillionaire daredevil" for a day for a newspaper column; and in the best of the tales, Clark visits Luthor in prison for an exclusive interview, only to have an undesirable effect on a monstrous inmate. Quitely's art is wide-eyed and simple, yet still cosmically epic, drenched in an old-school color palette that makes this a vibrant feast for the eyes. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Morrison produces a satisfying and moving wrap-up to his 12-issue, out-of-continuity stint with DC's flagship character. A dying Superman, poisoned with solar radiation by archenemy Lex Luthor, strives heroically to complete 12 tasks before his demise. Morrison continues the underlying motif of doppelgängers of the Man of Steel, with Superman's backward duplicate Bizarro (as well as Bizarro's imperfect copy, Zibarro), two lost Kryptonian astronauts whose character hints at what Superman might have become if he hadn't received humane values from his adoptive earth parents, and a posse of robot replicas on hand. The mechanical copies are among the loopy elements Morrison incorporates from earlier Superman exploits by less-sophisticated authors. As intelligent and entertaining as the script may be, much of the reason this series is head-and-shoulders above Morrison's other recent work is Quitely's artwork, which combines superhero dynamism and an emotional warmth that's rare to the genre. The saga inevitably ends with Superman's apparent death but continued existence as an ideal, which dovetails nicely with Morrison's view that what truly sets Superman apart from mankind is neither his awesome powers nor his alien heritage but rather his selfless nobility.--Flagg, Gordon Copyright 2009 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

IN the tense, murky years before America entered World War II, its young couldn't get enough tales of costumed mystery men. SUPERMEN! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-41 (Fantagraphics, paper, $24.99) is a rambunctious anthology of the earliest superhero stories - gaudy, crude, infernally potent things, cranked out by scrappy young cartoonists who were more concerned with what the likes of Silver Streak, Yarko the Great and Skyrocket Steele could do than with what they might mean. The book's editor, Greg Sadowski, has compiled vivid early work by Will Eisner, Jack Kirby and Jack Cole, among others who went on to be the medium's great stylists. So it's surprising how similar their work was in the days when they were inventing the superhero concept. Their stories have the same frantic tumble of calamities and grotesqueries, the same orphan-threatening menaces and square-jawed, tough-talking heroes, the same prose so overheated it threatens to singe its readers' eyeballs: "Seven million wide-eyed souls glance skyward as one! Rearing his ugly head above Manhattan, casting a shadow over all - the Claw!" That's from a January 1941 tale in which the Claw, as extreme a yellow-peril caricature as they come, has spent two months burrowing under Europe and the Atlantic Ocean; he emerges in New York City, declaring "Death to America!" in lettering straight off a Chinese restaurant menu. American cartoonists of that era were not subtle about their fear of foreign invasion. The earliest story here, fittingly, is Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's hilariously hypercompressed two-page "Dr. Mystic," published in 1936, two years before their most famous creation, Superman, set the young comics industry afire. And two 1940 stories by Fletcher Hanks, "Stardust the Super Wizard" and "Fantomah, Mystery Woman of the Jungle," practically leap off the page and gibber in your face; Hanks, whose brief, batty career was surveyed in the excellent 2007 book "I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets!," had a gift for unhinged hyperbole matched only by his crabbed but indelible imagery. Seventy-plus years after Siegel and Shuster's breakthrough, there's still a flood of new stories about superheroes; the best ones tap into the genre's bristling subtext to make real things vividly unreal. OMEGA THE UNKNOWN (Marvel, $29.99), written by the novelist Jonathan Lethem with Karl Rusnak and drawn by Farel Dalrymple, is a splendidly bizarre fable about profound alienation. The original "Omega the Unknown" was a messy, short-lived comic book in the mid-1970s, created by the writers Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes and the artist Jim Mooney. A handful of its uncanny images have lingered with Lethem and Rusnak, who have transplanted Gerber and Skrenes's best riffs into what Lethem calls a "serious parody" of old superhero comics - faithfully preserving the elements of the form but drastically mutating their tone. There's a pompous omniscient narrator, for instance, but he actually pops up in person a few times ; he's called the Overthinker. There's a weird-science plot device turned quotidian - magic anti-nanotechnological table salt. There's a teenage protagonist, Titus Alexander Island, who stubbornly resists readerly identification. (Raised by robots, he's so detached and obsessive that it's suggested he's autistic.) And there's a costumed hero, Omega, who's mute, abject and nearly inscrutable; eventually, though, he explains his intentions - in the form of a brief comic-book story (illustrated by the avant-garde cartoonist Gary Panter). Dalrymple's linework, tremulous and twitchy, and Paul Hornschemeier's muted colors don't look much like any other superhero comics; there's a sense of human frailty to their characters that inverts the muscles-and-action tradition. And of all the prose writers who've tried their hand at comics in the past few years, Lethem has the greatest sensitivity to the capacities of the form. He and Rusnak - it can't be an accident that the secret identity of the story's cynical, franchise-happy Batman type, the Mink, is "Rex Kansur" - know when to get out of the way and let images carry their story: the final 22-page chapter includes only eight words of dialogue. GRANT MORRISON is one of the deftest superhero-comics writers of the moment, and the second and final volume of ALL-STAR SUPERMAN (DC Comics, $19.99), his collaboration with the artists Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant, is full of mad, cartwheeling invention and airy open spaces. The three seem uninterested in subverting the familiar tropes and scenery-chewing gestures of Superman stories; Morrison and Quitely simply execute them with elegance, wit and atomic precision. The plot can be read as a straightforward adventure story, in which the Man of Steel must complete 12 great labors before he expires from a solar overdose. (The labors are never quite enumerated; that's not the important part.) But nearly every visual detail and line of dialogue has some subtler implication or resonance that emerges on rereading. The final twist is so clever that Morrison doesn't sully it by explicitly revealing it on the page; it takes a little while after the story has ended for it to sink in. Morrison and Quitely's humor manages to be both broad and understated. Their Lex Luthor is an arrogant genius who despises Superman for depriving him of the chance to be known as a great hero. Their Superman is prone to soliloquizing in the stagey mode of his 1960s incarnation. And their Clark Kent has manners so mild he threatens to wilt into his desk at The Daily Planet despite his linebacker's build. When he dons his cape, though, he's a benevolent god. In fact, he's ours: in the book's best sequence, Superman breathes life into "the sickly infant universe of Qwewq" to see what might happen in a world so benighted it doesn't even have superheroes. Humanity evolves on "Earth Q," painting pictures on cave walls and building temples and writing "Also Sprach Zarathustra"; at last, sometime in the mid-1930s, Joe Shuster puts the final touches on his brightly costumed creation. If Superman did not exist, Morrison suggests, it would be necessary to invent him. Douglas Wolk is the author of "Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean." He writes frequently about comics for the Book Review.