(2006) various writers and artists, Titan Books, £10.99, trdpbk, 192pp, ISBN 1-845-76399-8
Because of Batman Begins we got a Batman Greatest Stories Ever Told, and because of Infinite Crisis we got a JLA Greatest Stories Ever Told and now, because of Superman Returns we get this volume. As ever, whether or not you believe that these really are the greatest stories ever told about the Big Blue is a subject for debate. Almost inevitably someone's favourite(s) may have been left out (or, as is the case with Alan Moore's Superman tales, so recently re-published as to make them redundant here) and, by the same token, there are bound to be some inclusions which prompt the reader to say "Huh?" What I can tell you is that there are certainly stories here of merit and definitely worth re-printing. Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster are ably represented by "What If Superman Ended the War?" from February 1940's Look Magazine; there's "The Last Days of Superman" from veteran SF writer Edmond Hamilton, with artwork by the Superman artist Curt Swan, from October 1962 (of which Alan Moore's Superman swansong tale "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" is eerily reminiscent); the same team also contribute "The Showdown Between Luthor and Superman" from one year later; there's Jim Steranko's fine story "The Exile at the Edge of Eternity" from the Superman 400 anniversary issue of October 1984, and a Jean Giraud (Moebius) pin-up from the same issue; and proceedings are brought right up to date with "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way" from March 2001's Action Comics 775, a not-so-gentle poke in the eye to titles like The Authority, by Joe Kelly, Doug Mahnke and Lee Bermejo. The whole thing sports a lovely Alex Ross cover, as these volumes so often do, and other tales featuring the talents of William Woolfolk, Al Plastino, Elliot S Maggin, Murphy Anderson, John Byrne, Dick Giordano, Mike Mignola and Karl Kesel, to name but a few. Greatest stories or not, this is still a fine volume of, arguably, the greatest superhero of all and well worth a look. Recommended.
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