Friday, September 25, 2009

167 reasons why All Star Superman was my favourite superhero comic of the last decade.

Superman has everything under control from the first cover.

Four panel past, leading to an open and double-page now that shines brightly.

Steve Lombard: what a cock.

Lex Luthor, nine minutes ahead of the world.

Superman arrives aboard the Ray Bradbury and everything is going to be okay.

He doesn't stop a bomb from its destiny of self-realisation. Harsh, but fair.

The big man's pose as he holds up 200 Quintillion tons.

Doctor Quintum's coat.

Superman watching the fireworks under his skin.

The sad silence of the Voyager Titans.

“Thanks,” says Superman. “There's always a way.”

Clark Kent ignores Cat, strides into the room, trips over Cat's handbag, loses his glasses, knocks Steve's coffee out of his hand as he gets up, rescues the coffee which doesn't lose a drop, puts it down, drops his papers and slips on them. In one panel. Only in comics.

The little saves he still manages to make: saving the pedestrian in clumsiness.

“Lois. Please stop talking for just one second. I have something to tell you.”

Traveling by car to the north pole, it's the only way to travel. Beats getting wrapped in a cape.

Imperfect Superman robots. Exact duplicates were always just a little bit creepy.

Superman's new key.

Batman on the chess board and the space shuttle Columbia: Superman's time capsule.

Lois' narration in the Fortress. Paranoia plus, and the Unknown Superman of 4500ad and the alien chemicals Superman is cooking up are not helping.

Smashing suns on a cosmic anvil.

The one panel in Superman and Lois' dinner where it goes black and white. The expression on Superman's face kills me every time.

His magic mirror knows what he really looks like.

The J-Lo question. Just the right side of fucking stupid and the genuinely unexpected turn.

Lois realizes what she has done after shooting Superman with green kryptonite radiation.

Steve Lombard: Still a cock.

The sheer joy of new superpowers seen on Lois' face, and the way Superman carefully guides her through those first few steps.

The look on Superman's face when he sees that Samson is stepping on his turf.

Superman instantly zooming to the rescue of Krull after the chill-drunn eating monster has been carelessly tossed into space by Samson.

Dino-Czar Tyrannko and his fear, admiration and respect for the big fella.

The casual strength and power body language of Samson and Atlas and the callous way they present Superman with the newspaper story telling of his death.

Lois in a condition of quantum uncertainty.

They might be dicks, but Atlas and Samson will still stand by Superman's side if he genuinely needs their help.

Superman's answer to the ultra-sphinx's question, including the small laugh he releases as he works out a wonderfully simple answer.

Superman's expression when he reaches the end of his tether with Samson and Atlas.

'Okay, that's enough. Both of you.' The man of steel is a good man, but he will only take so much.

His effortless defeat of Atlas and Samson, even if the little whistle at the end shows how unconcerned he is.

The way Lois kicks up a tiny cloud of lunar dust as she embraces Superman on the moon.

The tired melancholy of Lois losing her powers.

The two good laughs in the future newspaper blowing in the end in the final panel – seeing Clark Kent's byline and Superman's ingenious Ultra Sphinx answer reduced to ad-speak.

Jimmy's apartment and fantastic haircut.

Lucy's uniform.

Jimmy seeing the story unfold in the air, and he can't help reaching out for it.

“Wow! I can't decide who I am from one day to the next!”

“Oh, my what?”

The purple glow of the Underverse.

Jimmy's straight-up leap to avoid Superman's heat vision.

Superman's buddy won't let him embarrass himself.

No firewall is Olsen-proof.

Jimmy ends up with a snazzy jacket, two shows to the hottest how in town, a love message written on the moon and his girl. Good wins!

The Jury of Luthor's peers, especially the look of disdain on the dude in the Afro.

Lex Luthor can't read shorthand.


Luthor's supreme confidence. “It's easy to be strong when you just happen to come from the planet Krypton! This takes hard work!”

Clark's unreadable expression while he holds the punching bag for Luthor.

The crowd in the prison. All of Quitely's crowds, for that matter.

The way Superman effortlessly saves lives while keeping his identity secret. He should be good at it by now, he's had enough practice.

The baboon in the Superman suit, another genuinely unexpected turn. There is always the risk these things become too cosy and predictable, but Leopold is just so wrong.

Luthor's new eyebrow.

Superman desperately trying to save Luthor's life, but Lex isn't having any of it.

Clark Kent in the boat, being taken somewhere he doesn't want to go.

That Kansas sky.

Back on the moon, with his dog.

The new farmhands, unable to hide their admiration beneath their cheap clothes.

The old man in the diner who gives Clark the evil eye.

“Why do you both have to act like I don't know who he is?” “Don't make me talk about this, Lana.”

The Chronovore made me feel a little sick.

Krypto enters the battle, and the ground ripples with the force of his attack.

Jonathan's concern for his son, and the reassurance he receives.

Clark's despair at the death he can't stop.

The Superman Squad and its leader.

The light streaming in the church windows and doors during Pa's funeral.

The silent goodbye to the suneater, followed instantly by an attack from an impossible planet.

The horrific contagiousness of Bizarro.

Steve Lombard: Still a cock, but at least he feels the pain of those who have been transformed by Bizarro.

Quintum drawing the line against the Bizarro invasion at P.RO.J.E.C.T. And making his stand behind sandbags. Sometimes, the simplest technology is the best.

“As soon as I've knocked some sense into that planet up there, Lois.”

Superman beating the Bizarro world by flying into a mountain at top speed and blowing that shit up. It almost makes sense, but when it's as pretty as this, who gives a fuck?

The loneliness of Zibarro.

The wedge of cheese that is the only thing securing the rocketship on the cover of #8.

The oncoming All-Night on Bizarro World and the horror of eternal inertness. Until the next time.

Superman's faltering attempt at Bizarro-speak, and his increasing confidence with the language once it becomes absolutely important that he does so.

The sweat appearing on Superman's face as his time on Bizarro World takes its toll.

Zibarro's despair at the Bizarro Justice League

And the horror on his face when he realises there is only room for one on the escape rocket.

Superman's promise that they will meet again.

“Why else did this world, this incredible organism, make eyes like yours to see beauty and meaning where others see chaos?”

The increasing chaos and simultaneous meltdown that comes with the falling of All-Night.

Superman's kind-hearted and perceptive critique of Zibarro's writing.

Bizarro-Flash may have no speed, but his sense of timing is as impeccable as his regular counterpart.

Zibarro left alone as his world melts around him, happy enough to take the knowledge he has a friend with him into the endless dark.

The way Superman can be see bouncing off the ground in his re-entry to Earth, and his cheerful greeting.

The fact that the architecture of Superman's planet, now adorning the buildings of Metropolis, actually look alien and aren't another goddamn homage to something the creators liked as a kid.

Clark Kent’s excuse for his disappearance: trapped in the closet with plenty to eat and read. Fortunately, nobody asks him where he went to the toilet.

Lois still doesn't quite believe that Clark is Superman.

Bar-el and Lilo staring into each other's eyes while standing in a fountain of lava.

Their ignoring of Superman when he first greets them and the manner in which they constantly look down their noses at him (and everything else Earth has to offer.)

Bar-El thoughtlessly tossing the key to one of the Fotresses' robots, and Superman's silent comforting of it.

The perfectly viable point of view of the explorers, celebrating the life of Krypton in a new and unusual manner. Who is to say they’re wrong?

Superman puffing out his chest when he concludes they don't have the best interests of Earth at heart, and Bar-El calling him on it.

The expressions on Superman's face when Bar-El is beating the tar out of him.

Superman's concern for careless breaking of the moon and the thoughtless repair job.

Jimmy has never been cooler than in this series, but even he can't pull off Kryptonian trousers.

Steve Lombard: now a bald cock.

Bar-El's reaction to Superman's kindness and his pride in calling him kin.

“You're right about one thing: I am a scientist's son. It's in my nature to observe and to learn... and not to interfere too much. Perhaps I could have done more.”

Superman finding a solution to the explorers' illness that allows everyone to win.

Bar-El and Lilo in the Phantom Zone: ready to bring justice, and the criminals know it.

Superman's weariness as he complies his last will and testament, even though he would never show how bad he is doing in front of a group of sick kids.

Superman staring at his fingertips.

“Historic? In Kandor we have nothing left but history.”

Quintum's eagerness to get inside the bottled city.

Doc Quintum standing before Kandor's leaders, the pressure pushing him down on his cane.

The only way to study a world without superman is to make one.

Superman's battle against a giant robot driven by a mad scientist with Alzheimer’s is all done in nine panels, and doesn't need any more.

Dead skin cells look like the dust of dead stars and promises to Superman's eyes.

Superman's super-compassion with Regan.

While Kandor debates, some have already made the move, deciding there is worth in Quintum's idea.

The small crowd watching Superman replace the last of Earth's bridges.

Quitely's visualization of Superman's microscopic vision, probing deeper with every art bubble.

Evolution of man on Earth Q: aboriginal art, moving up to philosophy

Superman not giving up on Luthor.

Luthor’s spat reply

N-lish tok from the 24c

“Why didn’t I trust them enough to ever think of this?”

Superman is shooting tiny versions of himself out of his fingertips, and they can cure cancer, and it all makes perfect sense.

The creative peak of Earth comes with the creation of Superman. Of course it does, if Superman doesn’t exist, it is imperative we invent him.

The moustache on the man who pulls the switch on Luthor and his shadow arching away as he does so.

The bullets bouncing off Luthor’s teeth.

Superman missing the sun-eater, one of the most dangerous creatures in the universe.

“What a life! I’ve traveled across time and space. I’ve seen and done things beyond imagination. Blessed with friends like Pete and Lana and Jimmy. And Batman… What incredible adventures we’ve shared. What amazing people I’ve known.”

There is STILL always a way.

Luthor’s hideout is all about him.

Nasthalthia’s wedding plans, bringing mass species extinction.

The loyalty of superman’s robots. His nobleness is enough to convince machinery.

Putting his super-key under the welcome mat.

Prototype Supersquad racing into battle against an evil sun, built from his own sense of justice, compassion and truth.

Robot 7 must atone.

The return of the sun eater

Superman’s righteous anger at what the sun has done.

“Rehabilitation begins here, Solaris. There’s a way to everyone’s heart and I can see yours.”

I still think mushroom clouds are pretty.

Even evil geniuses need the media to spread their message. Otherwise they just end up like that sad internet cult in Global Frequency, that kills itself when nobody is watching.

Clark Kent rushing to get his final big headline in on time. What a pro!

The crimson landscape of Krypton.

Superman given the choice of remaining at play within the field of living, fluid consciousness, or turning and facing down evil one last time. For the big man, it’s no choice at all.

Lex’s super-sneer.

And his refusal to accept the notion of truth because it’s not scientifically measurable.

Steve Lombard: still a cock, but a good cock as he tries to bring his buddy Clark back from the dead.

Clark calmly standing up for his friends against the most powerful man on the planet.

The glare of the gravity gun.

“Nice, ah, disguise, Superman.” His secret identity is like masturbation. Everyone knows about it, it’s just not polite to talk about it.

The ideas that start flowing for Luthor before he is hit by a truck.


The fight through the subway train. Best action choreographer in the bizness.

“Stand aside! Don’t be alarmed! This is only the phase transition to a new way of life without Superman! Lay down your weapons, surrender and everything will be fine.”

Lex figures out that compassion is the fundamental scientific force in the universe.

And Nasthalthia is mortified by her Uncle’s emo behaviour.

Superman outsmarting Luthor with the time distortion, and then punching that bald git in the mouth.


Neon Superman, as his cells convert into energy.

The silence as he plunges into the sun, carrying Lois’ love with him into eternity.

One year later and Lois’ absolute certainty that he is not dead is rock solid.

So it should be. Superman is in the sun, constructing machinery so advanced it might as well be a magic lamp. Bathed in golden perfection, his super alchemy keeping him alive, Superman is still watching over us all.

At the end, it was all about love and the best in humanity. And super-punching.

It exists outside of continuity, using it but not as part of it, giving it the ability to go its own way without worrying too much about how it all meshes together.

The 12 legendary super challenges aren't clearly defined

It totally cured a headache I had once.

Morrison and Quitely.

And one reason why All Star Batman and Robin might be better than All Star Superman.

Just because!

1 comment:

Islington Comic Forum said...

Thanks for this.

Am still struggling with a way to properly sum up all my positive feelings for this book: gonna that much harder now - what with everything you wrote here being so spot on.