I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got two new comics plus a hard cover collection:

  • Usagi Yojimbo – 119
  • Mini Marvels: Secret Invasion
  • Jack Kirby’s The Losers
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

  • All Star Superman Volume 2 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

    I bought the first issue of this “All Star Superman” when it came out but didn’t like it very much. I bought one other issue, can’t remember which, after that because a friend recommended it. I thought the second issue I bought much better than the first. So when this collection of issues six through twelve came out I thought I’d give it a try. I wish I didn’t.

    Mark Waid’s intro to this book lavishes praise on it like its greatness is unbounded. I guess that’s what an intro is supposed to do but I don’t get it. First off I was disappointed with the art. Frank Quitely has been the exception to my dislike of the “No line weight” style of art but not here.

    First off this is printed from his pencils and not inked. It claims to have been “Digitally inked” by the colorist but that usually just means changing a few sliders in Photoshop to darken the pencils. That’s what it looks like here.

    I don’t always mind comic art reproduced directly from uninked pencils but it takes a different thought process on the part of the penciler. A penciler usually doesn’t think about every mark he puts on the paper. That’s the inker’s job. So when comics are made directly from pencils the artist has to think about the marks he’s making as finished art.

    In this book Quitely’s no line weight style is disintegrating into a spidery mess. It’s tough to see what’s going on sometimes because all of the lines he has drawn are thin and blend together. The dark coloring doesn’t help clear things up either.

    Quitely also doesn’t seem to be interested in drawing backgrounds either. Because he hardly draws any. All of the scenes in the Daily Planet take place in nearly empty brown rooms. Emptiness is the main feature of every background in this book. It doesn’t do a good job at defining a sense of place. Overall it was not a good job by an artist I usually like.

    I have less criticism for the writing because I’ve never been a fan of Grant Morrison’s writing. A lot of people love his stuff but I don’t. I find this particular book redundant. It’s just like a lot of other Superman stories I’ve read. When Superman was on Bizzaro World it took him way too many pages to figure out that if he told the Bizarros to do the opposite of what he wanted them to do then they would do what he wanted them to do. Isn’t that revelation in every Bizarro story?

    I could go on and on about what I didn’t like with the writing but it would be pointless. Morrison’s writing just passes me by for whatever reason. Sometimes I understand why people like a particular thing and I don’t and sometimes I’m at a complete loss as to why something is popular. It’s one of those mysteries to me. I don’t get it. All I know is I found this volume disappointing.

    But to end on a positive note the one part of the writing I did like was the return of “Mad Scientist” Lex Luthor. I never liked the “Businessman Kingpin Ripoff” Lex Luthor that has been the norm in Superman since the John Byrne relaunch days. That’s my tow cents for what it’s worth.