All Star Superman Volume 2 – the end to possibly the only Superman story you ever need read.

Published On July 30, 2009 | By Richard Bruton | Reviews

All Star Superman Volume 2

by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant

DC Comics.

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I’ve already reviewed both the first issue and the first volume (issues 1-6) of this story and it’s not going to come as a surprise to anyone that everything I wrote then still holds good:

Morrison has taken Superman; a dull, tired character (after all, how many great stories can you honestly get out of God – the Superhero?) and just simply breathes new, vibrant, incredible, original life into him. But he’s done this not by ditching all the complex continuity and all the bizarre ideas that other writers have tried to ignore or simply write out of history, but by embracing it all. All the Super-Pets, the multi-coloured Kryptonite, the strange villains, the complex and convoluted time travellers, the Fortress of Solitude and it’s half million ton key, time telescopes to contact once and future Supermen, Baby sun eaters fed by miniature suns created on cosmic anvils, Lois Lane as Superwoman, Jimmy Olsen the boy reporter and his signal watch – it’s all here in Morrison’s Superman and all fits into the mythos perfectly well, so great is Morrison’s skill at integrating classic and much loved yet slightly silly elements into a modern, relevant comic.

He’s taken everything iconic about the character and distilled it into his version, perfectly integrating decades of history, continuity and myth into a perfect reading experience.

And here in the second volume, the final six issues of the series, Morrison, Quitely and Grant wrap up the greatest Superman tale in a suitably epic and fitting manner. We join Superman following his fatal over-exposure to solar radiation engineered by Lex Luthor. He knows he’s dying and sets about continuing the prophesised 12 tasks to complete before his death, whilst setting his affairs in order. Along the way we see many of the keystones of the Superman mythos and watch as Morrison writes them better than anyone before him; Bizarro planet with poetry, beauty and loss; an elegant final solution for the Bottle City of Kandor; Clark Kent writing his ultimate Superman story; a heartfelt farewell to Lois Lane and an ending to it all. A real ending. A perfect ending.

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(Frank Quitely’s iconic pencils, Jamie Grant’s meticulous inks and sumptuous colours to illustrate Morrison’s perfect Superman story. It really doesn’t get any better than this. You can put all the other Superman books away now.)

There are so many wonderful moments in these pages that it’s easy to miss some, which is why repeated readings of All Star Superman are a must. Everything in these twelve issues is so perfectly pitched that there’s almost no point even carrying on with the character after this. At the very least DC should just rest the Superman brand for a few years, because post All Star Superman every Superman tale for many years will seem but a pale reflection of the perfect rendition of the character seen in these two volumes. It’s rare to find the perfect superhero story and even rarer to find one using characters so drenched in continuity and history. But Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and jamie Grant have done it with All Star Superman.

Richard Bruton.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

2 Responses to All Star Superman Volume 2 – the end to possibly the only Superman story you ever need read.

  1. Have you read “It’s Superman!” by Tom De Haven?

    It makes a fantastic companion – albeit unintentionally – to All-Star Superman. Set in the 1930’s, it’s a coming of age story for the Man of Steel that makes Smallville look like…well, Smallville.

    Young Clark Kent is a bit raggedy round the edges. He’s a kind of lolloping, awkward youth, unsteady on his feet and unsure of himself. In short, he’s a Frank Quitely character in prose form.

    There’s a blessed lack of Silver Agey/Krypton stuff in It’s…, and the book is perhaps a bit adult for younger readers. But it’s written with such a sure hand that even the most technicolourphillic reader can’t help but be carried along for the ride.

    I would definitely make it your next port of call after All-Star Superman.


  2. Sam says:

    While I totally agree with you that all star superman is perhaps one of the best superman stories ever told. I respectfully disagree that superman is dull or that this is pretty much the “only” superman comic you should read. Superman is a great hero and while he is certainly not human it is said in the comics of him that “humanity isn’t only biological”. He’s a great hero because of his driving humanity towards man, and if you read more of the comics you would realize that he is not “God-The Superhero” he’s a super… MAN. You should read “Its superman” from Tom Dehaven its a great take on the superman mythos, or try reading superman for all seasons as that has been one of my personal favorites as well. Anyway, well written article I just disagree with some of your points.