All-Star Superman #4


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All-Star Superman #4


  • Words: Grant Morrison
  • Art: Frank Quitely
  • Inks: Jamie Grant
  • Colors: Jamie Grant
  • Story Title: The Superman/Olsen War
  • Publisher: DC Comics/All-Star
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jun 21, 2006

Great Krypton! Superman’s gone bad and Metropolis is in danger! This looks like a job for...Jimmy Olsen?!

In legend alchemists could change lead into gold. Comic book alchemist Grant Morrison manages to change Silver into Ultra-Modern. His re-imagining of some of Superman’s old Silver Age concepts prove that class never goes out of style.

Jimmy Olsen embarks on his most ambitious feat to date – becoming Director of P.R.O.J.E.C.T. for a day and reporting on his adventure. Of course, this is still Jimmy so it is not long before he is in danger and summoning Superman for a timely save. This unknowingly results in Superman being exposed to a new variation of Kryptonite and the results are...bad to the bone. Now Jimmy intends to step up and put his life on the line to save Superman. It’s Man of Steel vs. Boy of Tissue...unless Jimmy can find an ace up his sleeve.

In this issue, Grant Morrison pays tribute to the old Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen comics of the Silver Age. With his own modern twist, Morrison keeps some of the old Jimmy’s nebbish and accident prone nature but combines it with a clever intelligence, the heart of a true hero, and an honest sense of warm friendship between Jimmy and Superman. Morrison’s Jimmy is more than just a one-note character or plot device. Even better is the Silver Age throwback cover to this issue. Every once in a while I really enjoy seeing covers with word balloons on them; it allows the reader to really feel like they’re getting a sneak peek at the story inside.

Frank Quitely’s unusual art is not to everyone’s tastes but with this issue in particular I feel like he treats the slightly goofier aspects of the story with a lighthearted touch, the post-modern parts with a futuristic slickness, and the ending battle with a lovely level of damage. His rendition of Jimmy is also just a lot of fun.

It is a bit of a shame that the schedule on this series has been so slow and erratic. One of the things that helps mitigate this, though, is the fact that each issue is essentially a stand-alone story. Readers may have to wait a bit longer between issues but at least they get to read an entire story in one sitting.

In issue after issue, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely twist expectations and surprise the reader. They manage to do all of this while acknowledging and proving that the past is just the jumping-off place for the future. All-Star Superman reminds the reader that comic books are still a source of whimsy, heart, and magic.

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