Holiday Gift Bag: All-Star Superman

Oh boy! It’s the biggest shopping day of the year! Thousands of people at the malls and the discount stores, taking up all the parking spaces and hitting each other with purses and axes and pontoon boats and whatnot! But it seems like a good time to kick off this year’s “Holiday Gift Bag” series — over the next few weeks, I’m going to offer you some ideas and recommendations for holiday gifts you can give the comics fan in your life. So if you’re tired of getting crushed and pushed around at the mall, head on over to your friendly neighborhood comic shop!


Let’s start off this year with All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. This was originally a 12-issue series that ran from 2005-2008, designed to boil Superman down to his essence in continuity-free stories.

It starts off with a shocker — Superman is dying, poisoned by excess amounts of solar radiation by Lex Luthor. On the bright side, this means that, for as long as he lasts, he’ll be more powerful than ever. But he still has to worry about his legacy, about wrapping up his life’s loose ends, about saying good-bye to friends without letting anyone know that the Earth will soon be without its strongest defender. We get all the familiar supporting cast — Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Lex Luthor — plus a few new characters, like mega-wealthy super-genius Leo Quintum. And the Man of Steel has plenty of new challenges to face — he gets exposed to Black Kryptonite, gets stranded on Bizarro World, and faces attacks from Solaris, rogue Kryptonians, and a super-powered Luthor.


This one is really something else — it may be the best take on Superman ever, with epic storylines and beautifully humanizing characterizations. Lex is an arrogant, self-absorbed genius, Jimmy is the king of the amazing, mad scheme, Clark Kent is a bumbling, doughy wallflower who no one ever suspects is really the Man of Steel. Even minor characters like macho blowhard Steve Lombard and Lex’s niece Nasthalthia get their moments to shine. Morrison and Quitely turned in some of their best and most enjoyable work ever with this one. It’s great fun for longtime Superman fans, and it’s accessible enough for non-comics readers, too. If you know a comics fan who hasn’t read it yet, or a Superman fan who doesn’t read a lot of comics, they might like this one a lot.

“All-Star Superman” is available in two volumes — the first one is out in paperback, but the second is still only out in hardcover. Go pick ’em up.

Comments are closed.