Artist: Frank Quitely
After watching Man of Steel a few weeks ago I have been in a huge Superman mood going through some of my favourite stories of the Man of Tomorrow as well as trying some that I haven't already read. This however is probably my favourite Superman story of all time, as I always enjoy reading it.
After saving Leo Quintum and his crew whilst on a mission to explore the sun, Superman is exposed to too much radiation, giving him new powers, whilst also slowly killing him. Superman then goes on the quest to put the Earth in a position where it can survive without him.
This was simply a phenomenal story, and easily one of the best Superman stories of all time, and my personal favourite. Grant Morrison has done such a great job of telling this wonderful story, that shows Superman at his most weakest point, knowing that he's going to die. This itself is risky, as to have the reader know from the first issue that the main character is going to die isn't easy to follow on from, especially when you have a further eleven issues to go, but Morrison does a good job of this. Besides this Morrison takes some of the most well known Superman tales, and concepts, making them his own by telling some fabulous mini-stories, whilst ultimately developing towards the conclusion of the main story. Morrison also handled the emotion perfectly, as well as the characters, the action, and the relationships, especially the relationship between Lois Lane, and Superman.
This story had the amazing Frank Quitely doing the artwork, which was truly outstanding. Now Quitely's art isn't for everyone, and I initially wasn't a fan, but have since grown to love his quirky, unique style. His art in this story's simply amazing, and is superbly detailed, with next to no imperfections. The layout of Quitely's art is also brilliant, adding a lot more depth to the story, as well as adding some more drama as well. What I loved most about Quitely's art however was how he drew Clark, and Superman so different, with Clark looking out of shape, as well as his usual clumsy self, which made his guise seem more believable. Quitely also did a great job of showing the character's emotions with it being easy to tell what the character's feeling, as well as explosive action, which was very exciting and dramatic. The inking, and colouring from Jamie Grant was also amazing, making the art feel whole.
This story would feature a group named P.R.O.J.E.C.T. run by it's director, Leo Quintum which experiment to find new discoveries, ultimately hoping to create a replacement for Superman. I found this an interesting addition to the story, as with a group that's goal is to find a replacement for Superman, it's appropriate for a story where he's dying. I also loved how Leo interacted with Superman, and how he wasn't afraid to go into dangerous positions. I also found his assistant Agatha to be very interesting, and the entire concept was brilliant, and worked perfectly in this story.
I already mentioned the fact that this story showed the relationship between Lois, and Superman, showing it more developed now that Superman knows of his upcoming demise. It also would show Superman give her a fabulous birthday present in a story that would also feature both Samson, and Atlas. Now I don't know much about either of these character's besides their mythological background, but I loved seeing them both fight over Lois along with Superman. The story itself was also very fun, and interesting, with some exciting, and explosive sequences. It was also nice to see Superman involved in a bit of fun leading up to his death.
The Superman Squad, a collection of Supermen from the future who send messages to others in the past. Now this wasn't the best part of this story, but there was a issue that dealt with Clark's earlier life, and his relationship with his father, Jonathan Kent. Now I won't go into any details as to avoid spoilers, but this was a very entertaining, and emotional issue, and I loved seeing the inexperienced Clark, along with his fateful dog, Krypto stand up to these future Supermen. To be honest the addition of Krypto was enough for me to enjoy that issue, as I love that dog.
Now I come to one of my favourite parts of this entire story, the issue set in Bizarro World. This was simply an amazing mini-story, and Morrison handled it perfectly. I especially loved the fact that there was a smart Bizarro in the form of Zibarro, who showed a lot of emotion, being an outcast in this world, much like Superman felt like on Earth. The Bizarro JLA were also very amusing, and I loved seeing them in their backward form. I also felt that Morrison handled Superman's actions during this perfectly, as they were very clever, and appropriate.
Now it's hard to forget the most used villain in Superman history, Lex Luthor, and Morrison doesn't do so here. Now Luthor may be over used, but I have to give props when he's used to the advantage of a story, and that's what he was in this. The interaction between both Luthor, and Superman, as well as Luthor, and Clark was brilliant, and exactly as I'd imagine they'd be. Luthor was also very conniving, and resourceful, and the fight between him and Superman at the end of this story was phenomenal, and truly a great last fight for this fabulous story.
This is considered as one of the all time greatest Superman story ever, with a lot of people classing it as the best story ever, me included. Morrison gives a very emotional, and symbolic story, that shows Superman in his final days. It also had some fun, and interesting mini-stories, which fit perfectly into the main story. The action was also perfect, being exciting, and explosive, with great art from Quitely Due to all this I'd highly recommend this story to anyone, whether you're a Superman fan or not, and if you are a Superman fan and haven't read this, then you certainly need to, as it is definitely amongst the best Superman stories ever.