By Leroy Douresseaux
May 28, 2007 - 20:54
In “Funeral in Smallsville,” Young Clark Kent returns to his parents’ Jonathan and Martha Kent’s Kansas farm, and the visit marks both an ending and a beginning. Meanwhile, a strange trio of farmhands arrives looking to help Pa Kent with the harvest, but they’re really members of the Superman Squad. They’re “Supermen” from the future here to save the past from a monster, and one of them is on a mission to tie up a loose end.
Grant Morrison writes comics that can inspire a sense of wonder in the reader or simply perplex him. Morrison’s work can also be downright irritating, and that’s not a bad thing. One shouldn’t finish reading a comic book and have the same feeling one gets from closing the refrigerator.
Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman #6 is my first try at this controversial Superman title, and I don’t think anyone who isn’t very familiar with Superman comics will appreciate this. Morrison mixes his brands of quirky sci-fi and weird futurism with the Man of Steel’s intricate mythology, which has grown out of seven decades of publishing history and thousands of individual Superman comics and stories. It’s a celebration of what Superman has been, what he is, and a grasp at all that he can be. Morrison has mined that from the Superman comics before his, and they are their own time machine of Superman possibilities.
Meanwhile, the pretty art by Quitely, who pencils, and Jamie Grant, who digitally inks and colors those pencils, slyly recalls mid-1980’s Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley on The Dark Knight Returns. That makes this strange candy, but only people really familiar with Superman comics and history can taste this sweetness.