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March 29, 2008



I think more often than not Morrison has done mere good, not great work since Seven Soldiers ended. All Star Superman 10, however, ranks with Batman 663 ("The Clown At Midnight") among his most interesting issues since 2006. These two show also Morrison's range: Just compare the ebullient, adjective-saturated prose of Batman 663 with All Star Superman's Zen-like dialogue sparseness.

The sheer emotional impact of All Star Superman 10 makes me think of Manhattan Guardian 4 which had a similar exhilarating effect on me.


Now that I've had a few days to reflect on it, I think my very favorite part of the issue is that bit with lil' Van-Zee of the Bottle staring up at his twin, the gigantic smiling Superman... the smallest and the largest are the same, which I think works as a totally perfect visual metaphor of the issue's humanistic theme (while slipping in series' Superman Double #45,326; didn't even catch that the first time around)...


That face smiling over Kandor is probably the single best image in the series--certainly the one that best sums it up.

I've been pretty disappointed with Morrison's post-Seven Soldiers work too, FrF--and I didn't care for his "Clown at Midnight" prose much at all, though the Club of Heroes story was a big hit in these parts--but this issue was a return to form. I have high hopes for the next two.

Andrew Hickey

Good stuff, Marc (I'm hoping to post my own thoughts on this tonight) but Moore didn't get to that quote first - it opens Robert Mayer's Superfolks, from which Moore ripped off huge swathes of plot for both Miracleman and Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow, and for which Morrison wrote an introduction when it was recently reissued in paperback.

David Golding

I haven't read Superfolks or Miracleman---I just thought of Watchmen, which doesn't use that quote, but which probably contains the only Nietzsche that most comic readers and writers have every read. It works even better though, if that specific quote opens Miracleman, and thus the "negative Nietzsche age" of comics. I think Morrison's point is not to give the comic a pedigree, but to redirect the pedigree that Moore inadvertently bequeathed to superhero comics: neither Nietzsche nor Superman are fascists; both have a largely positive message.


Oh, that is a very nice unpacking of the symbolism of the Kandorian council. I certainly noticed the variety of comics eras represented in their costumes...but it never occurred to me that it could be read as a metaphor.

There's something pedantic in that scene which distracted me from symbolism: I can't recall another use of Kandor where a writer acknowledged the obvious-in-retrospect fact that the bottle city would duplicate the living conditions of their former home world, and visiting Terrans might be at least a wee bit uncomfortable in the artificial sunlight and increased gravity of Krypton. (Mind you, GM undersells this point more than a little so as not to interfere with the story: you'd kinda expect Kryptonian gravity should be bone-crushingly intense by our standards...)

And there's real magic in the way GM transmuted that zany image from "Superman's New Power" into something beautiful. Before, it was just a bit of goofy Silver Age crack: suddenly it becomes genuinely touching. These two things surprised me, made me go "aha!" with pleasure. And it's been a while since a comic book made me feel that way.


Me too, RAB. This is the kind of comic that I'd hoped every issue of All-Star Superman would be. To be fair, about half, two-thirds of them have been--they just don't come out nearly often enough.

Andrew, the Nietzsche quote might come to comics from Mayer, but it definitely came through Moore, and Moore got there well before Morrison. And David, I think you're right--Morrison is placing that quote in the context of a history of human aspiration, not fascism. My point about the pedigree is that Nietzsche really has nothing to do with superhero comics before Moore, or Mayer if you prefer. Morrison places him in a better tradition but still casts him as an antecedent of Siegel and Shuster, which he simply wasn't. Doesn't ruin the payoff for that thread of the plot, though.

Jones, one of the Jones boys

You can't be surprised that we don't have a "12 labours" scorecard. Remember how tangentially the 7 treasures were handled in 7 Soldiers?

Now, if Moore had written the series, each issue would have had its own labour, colour scheme, branch of philosophy, corresponding episode of The Odyssey, type of cheese and patron guest star from the Love Boat (2nd season).


The issue with Super-Lois and the Ultrasphinx was crying out for a Charo appearance.


This WAS an extraordinarily satisfying issue. I got quite a buzz from reading it. Morrison's got a lot of chutzpah to make Supes God (shades of Ted Sturgeon's "Microcosmic God"), but damned if the results aren't refreshingly, unashamedly, utopian.

It's funny, my enjoyment of this series has not translated into an across-the-board willingness to buy everything Morrison puts his hand to, though I will give FINAL CRISIS a look if only to see what he can do under what I presume will be a short tether. I get the feeling that there's quite a bit of Morrison that I not only haven't read but am the poorer for not having read. What's the story on THE FILTH?

Jason Tondro's recent PCA paper on Arthurian riffs in Morrison (part of the same panel I was on, actually) has got me convinced that even the JLA stuff would be worth a visit, though, honestly, I read the first arc and it didn't stick.

Captain Slack

probably contains the only Nietzsche that most comic readers and writers have every read.

The hell of which is, it's a misquote. The bit that Moore (or the translator from whom he got it) rendered as "Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster"? It's better translated as "Whoever battles monsters should be careful that he doesn't thereby become a monster himself".

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