Graphic Content – All-Star Superman

List Item:  Read half of the 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
Progress:
66/501Title: All-Star Superman
Creator: Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
Year: 2005-2008
Country: USA

When you have a series as long running as Superman you are going to have your fair share of reboots and re-imaginings. With All-Star Superman they managed to come up with something slick and modern whilst staying true to what the characters had become. It’s hard to imagine how we got to this point from the 1930s, but I guess that’s just how comic books evolved and matured over the years.

In this twelve part mini-series, we start with the Man of Steel saving a manned mission to the Sun from disaster which sets off a timer for his demise thanks to over-exposure to solar radiation. What follows are a number of stories that see him trying to tie up the loose ends of his life, try to find a cure and ultimately find a way to keep Earth safe after he is gone. It takes someone who is God-like and has him come face-to-face with his own mortality.

The resultant stories are able to match a nuanced look at the human experience with complex superhero storytelling and a roll call of a large number of Superman references. The Superman in this series is thoughtful and quite philosophical in his outlook when compared to what I first saw in the early issues. He has also gained frailty and a degree of fear, whilst remaining the hero that we know him to be.

If there was a story that could explain to people why Superman is a franchise worth exploring, it would be this one. I was always turned off by him being basically invincible (therefore, what’s the point), but that’s not the case with All-Star Superman. Also, this must be the best that I have seen the Superman comics look out of the different decades I have seen them – it’s going to be a bit of a whiplash to go back to the old issues.

I’ll be reading a bit more Superman before I consider this huge franchise well and truly crossed off. It’s going to be near impossible to do justice to a character that has had more resurrections than Doctor Who, but I’m going to do my best.

Note: This is going to be my last regular post of 2019. Being the end of the year, I will be doing my customary countdown of my top albums of the year. However, since it’s the end of the decade, I am also going to do a countdown of albums and films of the 2010s.

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