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All Star Superman #3

Posted: Monday, April 3, 2006
By: Shawn Hill



"Sweet Dreams, Superwoman…"

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Frank Quitely (p), Jamie Grant (i,c)

Publisher: DC Comics


Plot: Superman gives Lois super powers for a day. Rather than go off in search of daring deeds, she revels in enhanced sensory and exploratory abilities. Some idiots compete against Superman. Lois still thinks Clark is someone else.

Comments: This is a tremendous slide in quality from the previous two issues. I wasn’t expecting Morrison to have an off-month on this title. I could see it with Seven Soldiers, as 30 perfect comics with such disparate characters, styles and ambitions was too much to ask for. But in this limited series, with so much to love about the first two issues, I really thought he’d keep up the momentum.

It grinds to a halt this issue, as we meet two of the dumbest tacks to ever bounce off a barbell, Samson and Atlas. Yes, the iconic versions of both men. They’re big. They’re strong. They’re immortal. And they’re hopeless idiots trying to impress the girl and getting in way over their heads with their enemies as well as poor put-upon (yet blithely invulnerable, even though dying by the way) Clark.

This secret identity stuff may be the most interesting part of the concept, as the question seems to really be which is truer? The impervious (doomed) hero or the needy nebbish? Lois’s steadfast refusal to confuse the two is maddening, and it only shows up in spurts, but it’s a quirky character trait with far more potential than any number of brutish strong guys or offended lizard men.

Also interesting are the hints of quirky supporting characters Morrison has given us with Steve Lombard (think Anchorman the Movie), Jimmy Olsen and the acerbic Ms. Grant Quitely helpfully draws as Tallulah Bankhead. It seems that Clark is going to have to get back into the glasses for this story to progress in any meaningful way. Morrison has compressed his background in order to focus on his final twelve labors as it were (I’m guessing, but thus far it feels like that); this issue is mostly a waste of that valuable time.

Summation: What works here, aside from Quitely’s quirky yet crystalline art, is Lois’s subjective experience of the day. She’s fought over, she’s endangered, and she’s entertained, enough to tire out even the most vibrant of reporters. Superman’s chivalrous concern for her throughout is very touching.



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