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All Star Superman #11

Posted: Monday, June 2, 2008
By: Shawn Hill

Grant Morrison
Frank Quitely, Jamie Grant (i, c)
DC Comics
"Red Sun Day"

Plot: Superman is closing down his Fortress and providing for his charges as his battery runs down, but in this issue of goodbyes, an old foe begins a final coup de grace.

Commentary: Lex Luthor. What a bore. I really dislike this guyís one-note villainy. Brilliant, sure, but with none of the grandeur of Dr. Doom as he plots against Reed Richards, for example. Luthorís a petty thug who just canít stand that Clark, or Kal, or whichever side Superman presents to him, is so infinitely superior in comparison to Luthorís shriveled, bitter little soul. I donít have fun watching Luthor plot against Clark. Heís just a pathetic excuse for a human being, compared to the wonderful human that the alien Kryptonian was raised to be.

Here we get a progeny of sorts for Luthor, one of those bitter, slinky starlets with father issues Morrison aims at his male archetypes from time to time, Nasthalthia. Sure, letís just call this niece Nasty.

Sheís willing to carry on Luthorís ďworkĒ after this bitter final confrontation, brewing these 11 issues now, but whoís going to be left to follow in Supermanís giant steps? The battle with Luthorís ally Solaris, the Anti-Sun, takes everything Supes has, including all his loyal robotic allies, and his beloved pet Sun-Eater. Though Solaris himself apparently has a brighter future (which we know from DC 1 Million), itís lights out for the space-robot this issue, and apparently for Kal and Clark as well.

The art creates Luthor as the worst-ever denizen of Oz (the HBO prison soap opera), but keeps Kal a shining science hero even in his infirmity. The Solaris design is especially brilliant work from Quitely and Jamie Grant, as the artificial planetoid goes through several different phases in its battle with Superman, each one greatly enhancing itís limited speech patterns as it strives and fails against Earthís greatest hero. Solaris has no subtlety, which Luthor does. But Luthor has no insight, least of all into himself.

The issue ends where the series began, in Clarkís office at the Daily Planet, where the bumbling reporter has apparently succumbed to heart failure, just as Luthor strikes. Superman made a lot of new friends as this series progressed, however. Luthor assures Lois and Jimmy (who handled Nasty with aplomb, by the way, appealing to the base instincts she wears, like all teenagers, on her sleeve) that Clark is the least of their worries, but I think the same can be said to Luthor. Heís got a deep hurting coming his way, and boy does he deserve it!



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