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March 31, 2006


Ian Brill

Clark Kent doesn't show up but he is still a presnce. I like how Lois still doesn't belive that Superman and Kent are the same person. Superman's so good at disgiuse that it backfires on him when he wants to stop the ruse. Perhaps Morrison is showing us what happnes when someone with so much power does something unethical: it lasts just as long as the good things he does. Maybe I'm reaching on that one.

Anyway, Clark and Lex Luthor spend a night in jail in an upcoming issue.


Nicely put. This issue ahd nearly everything, but I could not get over Lois' passivity. She didn't even get to hit the monster.

Jon G

I'm going to appeal to a bland but effective equation here: drinking Superman's powers does not equal being Superman. If I'm made CEO for a day, I'm not going to know what to do just because my level of "power" has changed. Someone will still, most likely, get the best of me no matter how much I mime CEO. Lois, in fact, IS quite spunky on page four, flying ahead of Superman, eager, but then the situation is diffused for the BOTH of them by Samson and Atlas.


I think you're reading too much into a turn of phrase, Jon. I don't expect Lois to match Superman's skill, take over his job or get top billing, but I would have liked to see her use his powers for something other than tagging along in his wake and surviving the collateral damage. The fact that she would spend the issue in her fifties role of passive object and prize is even more jarring.

Bobby Kuechenmeister

I am still waiting to receive my copy of All-Star Superman 3, but I wondered if I could get clarification about Ian's comment, because it sounds like he is saying secret identities are unethical.

I understand a secret identity as a necessary component of our main protagonist so readers may relate with him or her, much like Greek tragic heroes needed to be not excessively good and not totally evil. Secret identities are also supposed to protect a main protagonist's supporting cast.

Charles Hatfield

I'll say here that what I like most of all about ALL STAR SUPERMAN, and indeed the one thing that I think makes the book stand out, is that its Superman is so fabulously, comically, powerful, such a slap in the face to the oft-tested idea that the way to get readers to "care" about Supes is to power him "down," that is, downsize him, render him more vulnerable, less mind-staggeringly godlike, less Olympian.

On the contrary, Morrison and Quitely enjoy having Superman press billions of tons, use a housekey made of dwarf star matter, read DNA strands with the unaided eye, and other patent, jaw-unlatching absurdities. In this Morrison channels the old, Weisinger-era, Super-Superman, but with a certain easy, breezy, no-expository-fuss elan that makes each issue a brisk walk in the park if nothing more.

The cleverness here, as is so often true of Morrison and other comics-savvy writers, is in knowing how much DOESN'T have to be explained to seasoned readers and how quickly staggering concepts can be tossed off (best of show is still the baby "suneater" from #2). The third issue is, in this sense, entirely consistent with the first two.

I agree, Marc, that reinscribing the sexual mores of the 1950s is a bit of a comedown from the utopic heights of Morrison at his most subversive, but, of course, I've read enough Morrison to hope, however foolishly, that in coming issues EVERYTHING may somehow be subversively recast yet again, with the effect of changing the way all of the issues feel in hindsight.

This may be a foolish optimism at work; after all, Morrison is not always so subtle and we have a tendency to read too generously into his designs, knowing what he has been capable of in the past. For example, some of the SEVEN SOLDIERS stuff seemed electrically original to me, but much of it not.

Bobby Kuechenmeister

Charles, although Morrison's Superman may be a revised all-powerful self, he is still downsized in a sense. All-Star Superman is dying as he said about Lois in issue 2: "How can I spoil her birthday with the news that I'm dying?"

Charles Hatfield

Yeah, it occurs to me that the first few issues of ALL STAR may be leading up to a drastic depowering of Supes, perhaps as the result of a, er, near-death experience.

But, OTOH, Morrison & Quitely seem to be having too much fun with the utopic SF setting of ALL STAR, which, as Marc points out, is of a piece with their more godlike treatment of Supes. It's as if this whole amped-up world is owed to Superman, so depowering him in this context would be pretty sad.

Bobby Kuechenmeister

A near-death experience would probably make Superman uniquely human in a way we have not seen since his time as Superman Blue (Clark Kent was completely human then) or when Superman was killed by Doomsday. I look forward to reading how Superman's "dying" is resolved if DC Comics ever sends me my issue(s).

Bobby Kuechenmeister

Except for Busiek's current de-powered Superman in the first parts of "Up, Up and Away!" in Action Comics and Superman titles.


Building on what Charles said a couple of comments upthread, I don't think Superman's humanity has anything to do with his power levels or whatever current plot devices he's laboring under off in his regular continuity. It derives from the character traits he displays, the emotions he feels, the emotions those emotions provoke in us--from the story, in other words, as something quite distinct from plot. The mega-powerful Superman who contrived to save a random pedestrian without breaking his Clark Kent character (even as he was about to abandon that character!) in All Star #1 was vastly more human than the whining cipher who kept getting killed, resurrected, depowered, repowered, cobaltified, split in two, and mulletized in the 90s. I agree that this "dying Superman" arc will probably be quite moving, but it will be moving most likely because it will open up new story possibilities, not because a hale and hearty Superman is too remote.

Bobby Kuechenmeister

One problem Superman always faces is his invulnerability, though, which previous writers often criticized DC Comics about regarding their franchise. In the early 1990s, Superman got boring again and new story ideas became tough because he was invulnerable, so creative teams decided on killing Supes. Therefore, I believe those new story possibilities is derived from Superman's vulnerable (or human) appearance. Maybe I did not make myself clear enough before.

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