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Cover Date: January 2006
Cover Price: US $ 2.99
Issue Tagline: None.
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 36 pages
This is a version of the following issue:
All Star Superman (2006) #1 - ...Faster...
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What if the Marvel revolution had never happened? If Stan Lee actually had written the great American novel in 1960 and Jack Kirby had long before then been swept away to California to help create the most avant-garde animation even seen with Dali and Disney in the early 50s? And...and this is the big one...superhero comics made it through the dark age of Seduction of the Innocent?
...superhero comics might look like Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All-Star Superman #1.
...the Silver Age of heroes never ended...
First...as many people have stated...the recap of the origin is quick and to the point. If you like Superman at all, you know the gist of his origin. Hell, your great-grandmother knows Superman's origin.
After that we have a beautiful two-page spread of Kal flying along the surface of the sun. He's calm, but obviously determined. He's the first superhero and he's on the job. Your heart rate should slow just by seeing him arrive.
By page four, we know the Man of Steel's mission...he's gotta save some space scientists from falling into a sunspot. What happened?
...dude...it's a Silver Age Superman story...it's all about the Lex.
This is the Lex we've been missing. The business tycoon Lex was a nice idea for the 80s (Ok...Ok...Enron proved that greed will never go outta style), but it was just too limiting for a superhero comic. THIS is Superman's arch-enemy? He can't even take full advantage of being President. Morrison's Lex is the never-change-outta-my-prison-greys Lex...the Elliot S! Maggin supergenius Lex who hated playing second fiddle to anyone...especially not a muscle-bound alien from KANSAS who had everything handed to him when he was lifted gently out of his interstellar cradle!
This Lex couldn't see the immigrant story, the Moses or Jesus tale...he only saw the ultimate case of divine right in history and he would be damned if God's favorite was going to beat out the peak of human evolution...Lex Luthor.
How else do we know this is the Silver Age Lex?
He's destroying the mission...by planting on the space probe a monstrous genetic version of himself...which he can gloat through...so he can cause a water shortage...to bilk millions from the public as he has damned up fifteen rivers...by using government funds...to get Superman in position...to kill him...
Now, THAT, my friends is an evil supervillain plan!
And while he's doing all this, he's waving a baseball bat around. You can take the big, wicked brain outta the street thug gang but...yadda, yadda, yadda.
We've had some nice actresses playing Lois Lane in the past couple of decades, but I gotta tell ya, no one quite got the Hildy Johnson vibe like Margot Kidder in the first Donner Superman film. I hear Kidder's voice when, in All-Star, Lois is yelling out to the newsroom for facts for her story. "How big is the sun?!" And, of course, like in that same film, Jimmy is there with the answers. Now, however, he gets them from his new improved super-watch...kind of a Blackberry with a Super-pager. Jimmy comes into the planet using a jetpack...
...that leads to my next thought...the mere presence of Superman and his generous spirit have pushed science in amazing new directions...that's another thorn in Lex's side.
A few years ago, Steve Engelheart wrote a mini-series, "Big Town" for Marvel. The concept was "What would the world look like if people like Reed Richards actually lived here and beings such as the Inhumans and Skrulls would pop by every few months"...or something like that. It was okay...there was some controversy about editoral interference...but it never wowed the way I had hoped. Morrison takes the latest articles from Science and mixes them in his own Showcase-blender of a mind and comes up with smile-inducing results.
Throughout the issue, little things like Jimmy's jetpack and trackless elevated trains are worked into the background...but it really comes together when we formally meet Mister Quintum. Mister Quintum is the man Lex could have been. He is Willy Wonka and the astrobiophysics factory. Morrison spends a few pages after the super-save (what...you though Superman would lose some innocents?) showing us...with great help by Quitely...the crazy advances of Earth DC since Superman appeared. Quintum is also the one to tell Superman the bad news...Lex has possibly killed Superman by causing him to absorb too much solar radiation leading to apoptosis. I never expected to read that word outside of a microbiology text. Now, opposed to "The Other" were Spider-Man is dying from radiation poisoning (look out Aunt May...remember the blood transfusion?), Superman takes the news in stride. Quintum says that he'll find a way to save Superman or, failing that, replace him. Superman calmly replies..."Thanks. There's always a way.".
As Quintum (who's looking more and more like Morrison's personal voice in the book) says near the beginning of the book..."Nothing is impossible"
Now we get some classic "Where is Kent?" shtick at the Planet. Superman quietly saves a kid from being hit by a truck on the way back and does some wacky, klutzy bubbling as Clark on the way in.
Lex is arrested...yeah right...
...we have a very nifty movie style credits for the book...rated "DC - General Audiences - pulse-pounding rip-roaring action to be enjoyed by all"
...and I haven't even revealed the big ending!
Anyway...this is everything a Superman comic should be plus a bucket full of kryptonite...
Chip Kidd receives a credit for "cover logo design". Jamie Grant's work is credited as "digitally inked and colored by". It is to be assumed he deserves some credit for the cover as well, though there is nothing which actually credits him in the book.Issue is rated "DC" for "pulse-pounding, rip-roarng action to be enjoyed by all".
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