Comic Book Review: All Star Superman #6

All Star Superman has been an absolutely wonderful title. Morrison has amazed me with his ability to take the essence of the silver age story and meld it with a modern twist. All Star Superman is a truly unique title. Morrison and Quitely are an excellent creative team. There is no doubt in my mind that All Star Superman #6 is going to be another incredible read.

Creative Team
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciler: Frank Quitely
Inker: Jamie Grant

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

Synopsis: We begin with Pa Kent and Clark sharing a quiet moment out on the farm. Pa Kent recounts how blessed they were to have Clark delivered into their lives. Pa Kent tells Clark that he is destined for greatness. Suddenly, Krypto flies in and he and Clark play their own style of fetch. Superman rips outs a huge tree from the ground and throws it into space as he and Krypto race after it.

Pa and Ma Kent watch Clark take off into space. Pa Kent tells Martha Kent that Clark doesn’t belong on the farm anymore. Suddenly, a large man approaches Jonathon Kent and tells him that he heard Jonathan was looking for a few good men for the harvest. We then cut to Superman and Krypto sitting on the moon looking at the Earth.

We cut to the next morning. Jonathon Kent introduces Clark to the three men who he hired to help with the harvest. One of the men looks like Mr. Myxlplyx and another is wearing bandages around his face. The third is the large one we saw last night.

We shift to Clark, Lana Lang and Pete Ross all meeting at a diner in Smallville. Clark tells them that he has decided what he wants to do. That he likes farming. Lana says that she wants to see the world. Lana can’t believe that Clark doesn’t want to do the same. The three friends then take a picture of themselves together vowing to never forget each other and their friendship growing up. Clark hears cries of people yelling about a flying man. Clark makes a quick exit. Lana then snaps at Pete Ross asking why the both of them have to act like she doesn’t know who Clark is.

We cut to Superman and Krypto arriving to where he heard the people crying out about a flying man and sees the three men who Jonathan Kent hired. The three men then don their Superman costumes and approach Superman. They introduce themselves as members of the Superman Squad. That one is from 853,500 A.D., the bandaged one is the mystery Superman from 4500 A.D. and the one that looks like Mr. Myxlplyx is the Superman from the 5th Dimension. They tell Superman that they are here to stop a creature called the Chronovore that ages everything that it touches.

We see the Chronovore rampaging through a field full of cows. Each cow it touches turns into the hamburgers they were destined to become. The Superman Squad tells Superman to stay back and they will handle the monster. Superman ignores them and charges at the monster. The Superman from 853,500 A.D. takes down Superman and tells him that he isn’t as strong or as fast as he is. Superman responds that he still has his dog. With that, Krypto streaks in and takes down the Superman from 853,500 A.D.

We cut to the bandaged Superman standing next to Pa Kent and watching the other Supermen tackle the Chronovore. Pa Kent tells the bandaged Superman that this is the end of the line for him and his farm. Pa Kent asks the bandaged Superman if Clark will be okay. The bandaged Superman says that it all comes out right in the end.

We shift to Superman tackling the Chronovore. The Superman from 843,500 A.D. says to himself that he tried to warn Clark, That by attacking the Chronovore, it will eat three minutes of Clark’s life and in those three minutes Jonathan Kent suffers a heart attack. We then see Jonathan Kent collapse in the middle of a field.

Superman suddenly realizes that he can’t hear his father’s heartbeat. The other Supermen tell Clark that they have the Chronovore under control. Superman then races to his father yelling that he can save him. That he can save everyone.

We cut to Clark talking at Jonathan Kent’s funeral. Clark talks about all the life lessons that his father taught him and that he will never forget any of them.

We shift to Clark getting ready to leave Ma Kent and his home. Ma Kent tells Clark that he belongs to the world now. Clark is distraught and responds what is the point of his powers? What is the point of anything? Clark says that he didn’t even get to say goodbye to his father.

We see the three Supermen from the Superman Squad preparing to return to their headquarters. The bandaged Superman says that he can finally remove his bandages. He takes them off and it is an older Clark Kent. Clark thanks the other Supermen for the opportunity to see his Pa one last time. A time portal opens up and the leader of the Superman Squad stops out and gives Clark an indestructible flower from New Krypton. It is for Jonathon Kent. It is a remembrance for all that they are and all that they will be.

We then see Superman at Jonathon Kent’s grave with the flower next to his tombstone. End of issue.

The Good: All-Star Superman #6 was another fantastic read. Morrison continues to amaze me with his wonderful sense of silver age styled stories. In the modern day of comic books, All Star Superman is a refreshing change of pace. Modern comic books are so obsessed with being as dark, gritty and “realistic” as possible.

The old silver age stories are looked at in the same way that the old Adam West Batman TV show is viewed. Comic book readers love them for what they are, but basically view them as total jokes and not serious works of art or literary achievements. Morrison scoffs at that trend by showing that a modern version of a silver age comic book can still be a massive success.

Morrison does a great show showing the reader the maturation of Clark Kent from a boy into a man. Even though I don’t really understand DC’s obsession with killing off Jonathon Kent as we have seen in the Smallville TV show and now see here in All Star Superman, I do think it was an effective literary tool.

Morrison uses Jonathan Kent as a symbol for the basic values that serve as the foundation for Clark being able to become a human despite him being an alien. Unlike other alien heroes like Martian Manhunter, Superman understands what it is to be human. The basic values on how to be a man that Jonathan imparts on Clark enables Clark to be the hero that the world needs him to be.

Jonathon is the past while Clark’s destiny lies ahead in the future. Clark must embrace his destiny as a hero for the world. Clark must leave the farm and Smallville and enter the world since he is destined for greater achievements. Jonathon understands this and wants Clark to leave even if Clark doesn’t understand it and doesn’t want to leave the farm. Jonathon’s death is the only way that Clark can move past Smallville and being his journey as Earth’s greatest hero.

Morrison does an incredible job showing the reader Clark’s hesitation and indecision about leaving Smallville. Clark loves being a farmer. Clark loves his family and the quiet life. Clark doesn’t fully understand how his powers have placed a burden and duty upon him that normal men don’t have to deal with. Clark just wants to be like his father.

Morrison crafts a poignant and powerful death scene. As Jonathon collapse we see Clark racing so fast that fire sprouts from his hair. Up until know Clark has believed that his powers enable him to do anything and to save anyone. Not this time. Morrison uses Jonathon’s death as a critical learning experience for Clark. That no matter how powerful Clark is he is still just one man. And there is no way that he will ever be able to save everyone.

I enjoyed the nice twist of the bandaged Superman turning out to be none other than an older Clark Kent. Clark was so torn up about not being able to say goodbye to his father after Jonathon’s funeral. It was touching that Clark finally got to see his father before he died.

Morrison really delivered a very emotional and touching story. The reader could feel Clark’s pain and confusion surrounding his father’s death. We also felt the older Clark’s peacefulness with finally being able to see his father before his death. This was really a powerful issue.

I also enjoyed the scene with Clark, Pete Ross and Lana Lang. It was great to see the three friends together again one more time. Morrison completely captured that feeling that you get when you graduate high school and your circle of friends split up as you all go into different directions. You never want to forget that feeling you had with your friends or your friendship. You don’t want to let it go, but you know that you have to and that once you begin your journey into life as an adult that you may never see these friends again.

I loved the idea of a Superman Society. It is such a campy Silver Age concept. The various Supermen were pretty cool in particular the Superman from the 5th Dimension.

Frank Quitely turns in another gem of an issue. Quitely’s artwork is incredible. The art practically leaps off the page at the reader. The colors are gorgeous. All Star Superman has the best colors of any title on the market. I also enjoy the amount of emotion that Quitely is able to convey through his artwork.

The Bad: I have no complaints at all with this issue.

Overall: All Star Superman #6 is another great read. Morrison and Quitely have done a wonderful job on this title. You know that you are always going to get a good solid read when you pick up the newest issue of All Star Superman. And I’m not even that big of a Superman fan! I definitely recommend this title. Unless you only enjoy grim, gritty and dark titles, I think you will find All Star Superman to be a blast to read.