I regard this series as probably the best comic series of the past decade, and perhaps the best Superman series ever. It must be said, I'm not normally that much of a Superman fan, not, because the character is a goody, goody, boy scout type character, something which most critics of the character seem to constantly bemoan, but rather because I think most everything that can be done with the oldest and most recognisable superhero in all of fiction, has been done. Grant Morrison proves however, that there is life in the old dog yet!
Morrison gives us a refreshing view on Superman for the new millenium, a character who has a universal philosophy and lives by it, spinning a story that draws from classic myth, modern philosophy as well as the superhero Gold and Silver Comic Ages. Just as Jesus was an inspiration for an entire religion, the Superman in this book is meant as a modern day, non-religious, messianic inspiration, the ideal human, perfect in philosophy and action, and something we should all aspire to.
This actual absolute edition, is beautifully packaged with a new cover by Quietly, in an oversized format, I've fallen in love with this work all over again. I'm not one to spend money repeatedly on the same piece of work, but the fact that I own all of the original comics as well as the two hardbound volumes and now this Absolute edition, perhaps indicates just how much I care for this work.
While an oversized representation of the original material would have been enough for me, the true treasure, perhaps as per all Absolute editions, is the additional sketches, anecdotes and write-ups that Morrison and Quitely offer us at the back of the book. Through these, the reader is given a more holistic understanding of what Morrison was trying to achieve here, and while not everything is spelled out for us, the additional background material only enhances the enjoyment of this tragic tale.
I love this book, because it's a great big celebration of all the things I really enjoy about comics. It's definitely a Superman written for the modern generation, but it harks back to many elements of the character that long time fans have always appreciated. Mr Morrison and Mr Quitely have turned in a great story that neatly references all the key parts of the Superman mythos, and sharply evokes memories of the 80 page giants I used to buy when I was a lad. It's great to see the characters taken seriously, without being grim, and the art is at turns majestic and whimsical, in particular the way Clark Kent is drawn is a real delight. I'm glad to have this in an Absolute version, and ordered it even though i have the all original issues, as the art looks even more stunning at the larger page size. It's one of those books i know i will return to time after time, as it is a fantastic celebration of the medium
I do not usually buy Absolute editions, since I am used to the smaller, userfriendly format. Still, I buy them when it comes to "bigger than life" stories. ASSuperman is one of them. And although I think Morrison and Quitely's story is even more impressive in the small format - because there is a tension between the HUGE story and the SMALL format - the Absolute is the equivalent of a Live Concert, where the duo is allowed to extend their songs to near infinity and explore all other arrangement possibilities. Tension replaced by Explosion. And it becomes something to last, to endure. Something solid and full of gravitas.