Today’s Super Comic — JLA: Earth 2 (2000)

Writer Grant Morrison offers an interesting spin on the parallel-universe concept in the JLA: Earth 2 graphic novel. If the Justice League are destined to prevail in the one reality, then they’re destined to fail in the opposite reality.

The book revisits classic concepts from DC’s Silver Age continuity, but it takes a more modern, less child-friendly approach. In the old continuity, Earth 3 hosted an evil version of the Justice League, called the Crime Syndicate of America, who were opposed by a heroic version of Lex Luthor, who went by Alexander. DC had done away with alternate Earths at this point, but Morrison resurrected the basic concept for this standalone graphic novel—and he added some philosophical dilemmas to it.

Alexander Luthor recruits the JLA to save his world from the oppressive rule of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, but will that world allow its nature to be overturned?

The concept makes for engaging science fiction, especially with Frank Quitely’s cinematic art providing a big-budget feel.

The characters are all static; no one has an arc to speak of. But what’s important is that they’re acting in character. This book is about the big ideas and the big JLA-scale action, and in that, it succeeds wonderfully.

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artist: Frank Quitely

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: Comixology; JLA: Earth 2 (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 14 and up

Today’s Super Comic — All-Star Superman #3 (2006)

2352256-all_star_superman__2005__03I have to admit that Grant Morrison’s writing sometimes gets a little too weird for my tastes, but with All-Star Superman, he picked precisely the correct amount of weirdness to bring to the table.

The series is set in its own continuity, already well into this Superman’s career…toward the end of it, actually. This Superman is dying from issue #1, and he makes sure his remaining time counts.

In #3, Superman allows his one true love to spend a day in his world. As a birthday present, Lois Lane receives all his powers for a full 24 hours. The events are deliberately ridiculous, complete with additional super-powered suitors determined to impress Lois, but an underlying melancholy balances out the goofiness due to Superman knowing he has little time left. Plus, Frank Quitely’s depictions of Superman and Lois flying together and sharing a kiss on the moon are nothing short of romantic.

It’s a charming episode within a great series. This is the “Death of Superman” arc we should have gotten in the early ‘90s. It may not be an in-continuity Superman, but this interpretation is definitely true to the spirit of the character.

Writer: Grant Morrison

Penciler: Frank Quitely

Inker: Jamie Grant

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; All-Star Superman (TPB)

Appropriate For: 12 and up