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All-Star Superman #4

Posted: Saturday, June 24, 2006
By: Ray Tate



"The Superman/Olsen War"

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

One of the moments in Smallville that made me do a spit-take was the scene in which Chloe Sullivan implied that she had sex with Jimmy Olsen. I hate Jimmy Olsen. I have always hated Jimmy Olsen, and he certainly didn't deserve to have sex with Chloe. I also hate Doomsday. He is bar none one of the worst villains of all time--essentially Superman's Venom.

This issue of All-Star Superman focuses on Jimmy Olsen and Doomsday. There was probably no possible way I was going to like this issue.

I have to give Morrison his just due. He makes Jimmy Olsen less annoying than usual. In case anybody was wondering, he was the least annoying to me in Helen Slater's Supergirl and Superman the Animated Series. Reading about his exploits in All-Star Superman feels as painful as being stuck by cactus needles rather than being stuck in the head from behind. It's a sharp pain rather than a nauseous pain.

Morrison remembers the continuity, and he gives Lucy Lane a decent cameo. He also inventively comes up with a new way to bring Doomsday into the story. I still however hate Jimmy Olsen and Doomsday. The story did not change my opinion of him or the shallow monster.

Morrison this issue uses a lot of technobabble that's heavier on the babble than on the techno, and the story's verisimilitude suffers because of a reliance on what's basic nonsense lacking a thread of plausibility. For instance, you get to marvel at the inanity of "time itself cools to a solid" and "the sample is safe in a lead-lined gravity box."

Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant as usual are up to snuff. Their use of space in the panels gives even a minor comedy a majestic look. Jimmy often looks like a red-headed refugee from the Willy Wonka factory. Superman appears rather clumsy instead of heroic. These designs though are meant. Lucy and Perry White offer the only realistic anchors for the science fiction and slapstick cast.

Bearing in mind that I hate Jimmy Olsen and hate Doomsday, I still feel that the story is only a passable diversion in the All-Star Superman canon. However, I do not feel I can judge this tale too harshly even though I sorely want to do so, especially since it seems that Jimmy is going to have sex with Lucy at the end of the story. The character is just too unwarrantedly lucky.



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