Comic Book Review: All Star Superman #4

All Star Superman has been popular with the Revolution. I like how Morrison is writing Superman and think the storyline is pretty good. Unfortunately, the schedule for this title is too slow. It seems that each issue only comes out once every 4 months. I expect that All Star Superman #4 will be a solid issue. Let’s find out.

Creative Team
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quitely

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: The issue starts with Jimmy Olsen talking to his girlfriend, Lucy. We learn that Jimmy is now writing a massive hit column for the Daily Planet called “For A Day.” We cut to Jimmy at the Daily Planet where Perry White is praising Jimmy’s “For A Day” Sunday paper column. Perry then asks Jimmy what he plans for his next column.

And, with that we cut to P.R.O.J.E.C.T.’s base. P.R.O.J.E.C.T.’s Director, Mr. Quinten is going on a trip and is letting Jimmy assume the role of Director of P.R.O.J.E.C.T. for 24 hours for his column. Jimmy is then taken on a tour of the P.R.O.J.E.C.T. facilities. Jimmy passes a locked door with the words “Do Not Open Until Doomsday” painted on the outside of it. Jimmy asks what is inside of it. His assistant tells him that Doomsday is a legacy of P.R.O.J.E.C.T.’s origins in the U.S. Army’s Cadmus Division. That it is a dangerous experimental stem cell accelerator designed to transform a solider into an unstopablle killing machine. The assistant then pulls Jimmy along and tells him it is time to check the Underverse.

They enter a room where technicians are exploring the world of super heavy gravity. A newly discovered a basement level hidden beneath the known structure of the universe. One of the technicians cries out that he has something but that it is overloading his equipment. The technician and his crane-like equipment and the platform underneath him crack and fall apart. The technician falls into the Underverse and Jimmy also falls and is able to grab a piece of the broken platform and dangles dangerously over the Underverse. The assistant tells Jimmy to hold on. That if he falls into the Underverse that he will be crushed to atoms. Jimmy then pushes a button on his Superman watch.

We cut to Perry White praising Clark for his work on the Daily Planet. Superman suddenly hears Jimmy’s watch’s distress call. Clark rushes out of Perry’s office and turns into Superman and takes off for Jimmy.

We cut to Superman having saved Jimmy and has fixed the platform. Superman then pulls out the object that the technician had caught. It is a chunk of black Kryptonite. While the P.R.O.J.E.C.T. scientists examine and study the black Kryptonite, Jimmy and Superman sit in a room next to the scientists. Jimmy comments that his is a new type of Kryptonite. Jimmy says that he is worried for Superman. Superman tells Jimmy that since he is immune to green Kryptonite that he is not worried. We then see Superman etching his S symbol in the table in the room. Superman’s word balloons then turn black. Superman tells Jimmy that he h as more important things to do than to save Jimmy from some stupid danger every other day. That Jimmy would be dead without him. Superman stands up and smashes the table in the room. Superman then struggles with himself and says that everything has gone opposite. That black Kryptonite makes him bad. And that he likes it! Superman then blasts his heat vision at Jimmy. Superman then says that no one can stop him from doing whatever he wants to do. Superman then takes off for Earth.

We then shift to Jimmy talking to his P.R.O.J.E.C.T. assistant. The assistant says that Superman created 3 anti-Superman weapons. One is a green kryptonite ray that is now ineffective. Another is a Phantom Zone cannon. The assistant tells Jimmy that that one is their best option. Jimmy is horrified of the thought of exiling Superman to the Phantom Zone with no chance to return. Jimmy then says that the third weapon must be Doomsday.

We cut to Superman defeating all of P.R.O.J.E.C.T.’s Bizarro clones and Voyager Titans. We then see Superman landing in Metropolis demanding to know where Lois Lane is. Jimmy appears with a needle gun and tells Superman that he has to stop him. The needle gun is full of the Doomsday drug. Jimmy injects himself with it and transforms into Doomsday. Jimmy then pounds Superman into the ground. Superman passes out. Hearing his Superman watch beep is enough to pull Jimmy out of the effects of the Doomsday serum. Jimmy then transforms back into himself holding Superman.

We then shift back to P.R.O.J.E.C.T.’s base. Superman is full recovered as is Jimmy Olsen. Superman thanks Jimmy and says he is glad that he can always count on his best bud to think fast in a crisis. Jimmy then tells the assistant that he has 10 hours left as the Director and he has a couple of last requests including a large-scale, short-term cosmetic alteration to the moon.

We then cut to that night with Jimmy and his girlfriend, Lisa, at his apartment. Jimmy tells Lisa to look at the moon. There we see the words “I Love Lucy” carved into the moon. End of issue.

The Good: All Star Superman #4 was a fun issue! I have always liked the old-school character of Jimmy Olsen. Morrison’s Jimmy is a nice modern version of the cool 1960’s version of Jimmy. I think it is great that instead of being just a mere photographer, that Jimmy is authoring a massive hit Sunday column. The “For a Day” column really fits Jimmy’s adventurous personality.

I though Jimmy becoming the Director of P.R.O.J.E.C.T. was a pretty cool idea. I thought that Morrison’s version of Doomsday was a very cool take on the original. I actually find it more interesting than the regular Doomsday character. The nod to P.R.O.J.E.C.T.’s roots with Cadmus was also nice.

I also dug Jimmy using the old Superman watch to call his buddy for help. And Superman’s reaction to hearing the watch was classic! “Uh… Oh, my land, Perry!” You have to love Morrison’s ginchy version of Superman!

I also love any Superman story that centers on some weird colored Kryptonite that does something bizarre to Superman. I find them to be some of the best Superman stories. They are just pure fun and entertainment. I liked this bad Superman. Morrison does a nice job showing how an evil Superman would be the single biggest threat to the Earth.

I also liked Jimmy’s quick thinking and willingness to risk it all to save his friend. I thought the scene where Jimmy injects himself with the Doomsday serum was awesome! I love seeing him transform into Doomsday and then lay a beat down on Superman.

But, I think the best scene was after the fight. That Jimmy’s friendship with Superman saved him from the mind warping effects of the Doomsday serum. And then seeing Jimmy holding the unconscious and saying that they can’t let Superman be seen like this. Morrison did a great job with this scene portraying Jimmy’s love and respect for Superman. And that no matter how powerful Superman is that even he is nothing compared to the power of friendship. The image of Jimmy holding the unconscious Superman was the best panel shot in this issue.

I also liked the ending. In typical Olsen style, Jimmy uses the last hours of being the Director to do something silly to impress his girlfriend.

I think Morrison is doing a great job on All Star Superman. I love his stories with a modern twist on the campy classic silver age Superman style. This comic book is proof that the outrageous, totally unrealistic and fantastical silver age style of storytelling still works great. I think in the post-Watchmen modern era, that there has been this belief that all comics must be dark, gritty, realistic and serious. That anything other than that is “unrealistic,” “shallow,” and “lame.” I disagree. Now, I admit I like the darker more realistic post-Watchmen modern era comic books. However, I think there is still plenty of room for comics like All Star Superman. Comic books don’t need to be realistic! They are COMIC BOOKS! They center on super heroes, gods and aliens. It is perfectly fine for them to be totally fantastical and incredibly unrealistic. I really enjoy this style of comic. All Star Superman is simply an enjoyable and fun read. And there is a lot to be said for a comic book like that.

I am a huge fan of Frank Quitely. I think his artwork on this issue rocks. He draws a great Superman. His art fits the fantastical feel of Morrison’s story. Quitely draws an interesting futuristic Metropolis with a neat modern blimps and ships flying between the buildings. Quitely does a great job bringing Morrison’s story to life and makes this an enjoyable comic book to look at.

Rarely do I comment on inkers and colorists, but I will on this issue. Jamie Grant does an excellent job. The colors in this comic pop! They literally burst off the page. There are very few comic books out there with colors as intense as All Star Superman. And the bright colors really fit Morrison’s theme of a modern version of the 1960’s Superman stories. This comic book proves that not all modern day comics need dark and muted colors with gritty and sketchy pencils.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: All Star Superman is a blast to read. The stories are fun, a little campy and very entertaining. Morrison is an excellent writer and Quitely is a fantastic artist. They make a great combination and have done a great job with this title. If you are the type that only wants to read grim, dark and violent Marvel comics, then this title is definitely not for you. But, I would recommend All Star Superman to everyone else. Even if you are like me and aren’t a big Superman fan.