Review by Mike Chinn
Once there were novels, and there were comic-books. Then comics started to reprint old superhero strips in paperback form, and in black and white.
Then they began to come up with the visually more complex and adult-orientated full-colour graphic novels. Here is the novel’s revenge: a novelisation of a collection of stories originally published in Man of Steel, Action Comics and Justice League of America.
The much-publicised ‘death’ of Superman at the hands of Doomsday is the basis of the book – and the subsequent appearance of no less than four claimants to the old crown after the funeral.
A hefty tome – sadly it’s much bigger than the plot. Whenever Stern has Superman on the scene, he becomes stilted and trite – almost as if he’s overawed by his subject.
The fight scenes – no doubt wonderful in graphic form – are repetitive and overlong in print. (If nothing else, that demonstrates the average comic-book’s over-reliance on super-being punch-ups).
Only after Superman is dead and entombed does Stern seem to relax, allowing the remaining characters some degree of natural behaviour and speech-patterns (including the odd cuss-word. – no-one dared do that whilst the Presence was about! I mean, give me a break!). Overall, I can’t help feeling the whole thing was better in pictures.
And does Superman come back to life in the end? You mean you need to ask..?