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All Star Superman #5

Posted: Saturday, September 2, 2006
By: Ray Tate



Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Frank Quitely, Jamie Grant(i, colors)

Publisher: DC Comics


This issue of All Star Superman is delightful.

Lex Luthor stands before the World Court and receives the harshest sentence, death by electrocution. Returned to Stryker's Island off-panel, he prepares to receive a very special guest to his home, sweet cell. Lex Luthor has chosen Clark Kent to write what may or may not be his final raspberry toward Superman.

Clark follows Luthor all through the jail, and even when inadvertently meeting an old enemy, he fails to ring any secret identity bells for Lex. Luthor as written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Quitely is extremely smug and intelligent, but he's plagued by a Wile E. Coyote styled self-destructive instinct, and this provides the impetus for sly Superman action.

Do not misread. During this issue, you do not see Superman in costume. Rather Clark Kent finds cunning and often hilarious ways to preserve his secret identity and repeatedly save Luthor's bacon from such things as the consequences of misconstrued megalomania, absent-mindedness associated with technical genius and gross super-villain rivalry.

Clark saves Luthor, as well as the prison guards, through klutzy acts that are carefully choreographed deeds of misdirection and via moves of false humility and cowardice--brilliantly indicated by Clark's put on posture. He comes off outwardly as a loveable, and thanks to Quitely, hefty farmboy ill-suited for the cut of his clothes.

Morrison makes certain that you know that Clark Kent is a pleasant facade worn by Superman, and Superman further seeps through Kent's journalistic abilities. We find for instance that Lex Luthor is a fan of Clark Kent's writing style, and this is why he chose the bespectacled reporter for the interview. Surely it is Superman who has seen the earth from afar and the beauty of space that provides Clark's "poetry."

Only one mystery remains at the end of the issue. When exactly did Luthor lose that eyebrow?



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