All Star Superman
All Star Superman - DC Comics [$2.99 each]
To say that Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All Star Superman feels like the culmination of the character's history is not to slight those who are working or will eventually work on the world's first superhero. If anything, it should show what can be done with the character, and serve as maybe the start of a second chapter in his history. Calling the series a heartfelt, masterful work is like saying Citizen Kane is "a good movie" and that Bob Dylan is "a clever poet". In other words, it is a massive understatement, the kind usually reserved for sarcastic comments.
Morrison has carefully crafted the depiction of each important character in the Superman mythos, amalgamating various Lex Luthors, Jimmy Olsens and Lois Lanes into the definitive version of each icon. References are made to stories, characters and places from a number of disparate sources, including Curt Swan, Alan Moore, Smallville and, yes, Morrison himself. Moreover, a number of new concepts are introduced -- among them a tyrannical dinosaur overlord and a wacky, Willy Wonka-esque scientist named Leo Quintum -- that fit right into the world and tone of this essential Superman.