All-Star Superman review

Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly's Superman
All-Star Superman

Just over a week ago, Janice and I watched All-Star Superman, the latest in DC Comics/Warner Brothers’ direct-to-DVD animation line. It’s based on a well-received story by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly, who respectively also wrote and illustrated runs of the X-Men, Justice League, Doom Patrol, and Batman.

The cartoon adaptation is fairly faithful to the source material, including its concise retelling of Superman’s origin and allusions to the character’s science fiction adventures of the 1950s and 1960s. While I’ve found some of Morrison’s writing to be too densely self-referential, the 12-issue All-Star Superman is much more successful as a timeless tale of our would-be savior than Frank Miller’s over-the-top and incomplete All-Star Batman.

The animation captures some of Quietly’s style, especially in farmboy/reporter Clark Kent’s slouch or Lex Luthor’s egotistical posturing. The action scenes are well-choreographed, and like in Young Justice, the urban landscape of Metropolis is ironically more realistic than its current Marvel animated counterparts.

As usual, Andrea Romano has assembled a strong voice cast, including James Denton as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman, Christina Hendricks as Lois Lane, and Ed Asner in the role he was born to play, Daily Planet editor Perry White. Anthony LaPaglia doesn’t have the menacing gravel of Clancy Brown, but he’s a decent Lex Luthor.

I’d give All-Star Superman three stars, a B+, or an 8 out of 10. It’s rated PG for some violence. I like Justice League: the New Frontier, Batman: Gotham Knight, and the Green Arrow short that was packaged with Superman/Batman: Apocalypse more.

I’m also looking forward to Green Lantern: Emerald Knights and Batman: Year One. Miller’s oft-praised Dark Knight Returns would be better as an animated feature than a live-action movie, even though his vision of Gotterdammerung has influenced many Batman depictions in the past 25 years.

Coming soon: Belated Megamind review and Rango!

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