Saturday, August 10, 2013

ALL-STAR SUPERMAN

True confession time. I have never read the entire ALL-STAR SUPERMAN mini-series by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely which DC Comics published a few years back. I recall reading one or two issues here and there but I know I've never read the entire work.

Likewise, I never read the entirety of Frank Miller and Jim Lee's ALL-STAR BATMAN. Did they ever finish it? I don't know and I don't care because the two or three issues of that series that I did read were absolutely dreadful.

So, my track record with the two ALL-STAR DC comics series is spotty and incomplete. Since I've not read the Morrison scripted series I have no idea how the animated adaptation of it compares to the original. I don't know how faithful it is, what's missing, what's added, what's changed.

I do know however that based on what I saw when I watched this original film a couple of days ago is that this animated Superman feature is one of the best Superman stories ever filmed.

ALL-STAR SUPERMAN does much to help me forget how disappointing the big-budget, live action, CGI video game MAN OF STEEL was. Here is a truly heroic Superman, a character who is at once both beyond humanity and very, very much a man. When Superman discovers that he is dying due to an overdose of solar radiation, he reveals his secret to Lois Lane and gives her a serum that grants her super powers for one day. The two meet rival supermen Atlas and Samson and Superman defeats them both in an arm wrestling contest. A super-powered man and woman from Krypton come to earth with planetary subjugation on their minds and Superman, rather than destroy half of Metropolis battling them, finds a way to end their threat by banishing them to the Phantom Zone. Finally, Lex Luthor replicates the super serum that Lois used early to give himself superpowers and he engages Superman in a truly epic fight. Once again, the Man of Steel uses his brains to defeat Luthor but Kal-El's time is running out. His body, now composed of almost pure energy, is the only thing that can stop the sun from turning blue and threatening all life on earth. And so, he flies once again into the heart of the sun to save us all.

Even though Superman is gone at the end of the film, Lois never loses her faith. She knows that he's merely "fixing the sun" because it's what he has to do. She knows, deep within her heart, that he will be back because that's also what he does.

The animation style is closely modeled on the artwork of Frank Quitely and it's very good. The voice talent is all top notch (loved Ed Asner as Perry White!) and the script is first rate. As I said, I don't know how it compares to the original comic book series but ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, the animated film, is a winner.

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