Book Reviews - Comic Book Novelizations
The Death and Life of SupermanWriter: Roger Stern
Interior art: Stephen Youll
Published by: Bantam Books (September 1993)
Reviewed by: Aaron Thall
It began as a normal day for the Man of Steel. A simple rescue, a television interview, a patrol of the city.
It would not end normally.
Deep underground, evil is stirring, rising, setting foot upon the ground, setting the stage for the greatest tragedy in the DC Universe since the Crisis.
Doomsday has arrived.
Beginning with an idolated rampage, Doomsday attracts the attentions of the Justice League, the media, and finally, fatefully, Superman himself. And as the battle rages on with no end in sight, the world prays in vain for its hero.
As Lex Luthor tries to hold Superman responsible for the creature, Doomsday decides to go to Metropolis, completely unchecked despite Superman's desperate actions.
Nothing can stop him.
Nothing save one final, desperate sacrifice.
And when the final blow of this battle is struck, Superman is simply... no more.
As his loved ones and friends grieve silently, the world weaps openly. And as the Kents, Lana, and Lois struggle not to fall apart, Luthor and Cadmus struggle with the police and each other over the hero's body. Only Supergirl and Lois can bring an end to the conflict, but a much larger one looms ahead... One greater than Doomsday.
Suffering a heart attack, Jonothan Kent is granted one chance to save his adopted son from death. Using his love, he valiantly strives to rescue Clark in the afterworld. He apparently succeeds, and awakens, saying that Clark is back.
But this announcement is only the opening volley of a potentially tragic mystery. A man saved by Superman becomes a hero to honor his memory. A clone from Cadmus escapes and tries to capitalize on his powers and newfound fame. A half metal man claiming to be Superman begins patrolling the planet. And a caped man in a visor deals out swift, brutal, Kryptonian justice.
Lois Lane finds herself caught between these four, and is forced to question if any of them is the man she loves. And as these four beings clash for the title of the world's greatest hero, the world remains unaware that among these four titans hide two former enemies of the Man of Steel; that one holds the key to the true hero's return... and the other holds the key to the Earth's final destruction...
Story - 5: This novel not just retells the classic saga of the death and rebirth of a hero, it streamlines it. While we lose such things as the birth of Parallax, a direct result of the true villain's actions, and the underdwellers, what we get in exchange is a much more focused story, one that gets to the core of the near-tragedy of the entire affair. No character gets the short thrift here. Luthor's scrambling to conquer Superman in death, Supergirl's hope that Superman could be alive, Lois brilliantly deducing a critical truth about one of the Supermen... It all works, perhaps better than it did in the comics.
Interior Art - 4: At the front of the book is a stunning image of Superman, with his longer hair, flying above and away from Metropolis. Its placement, however, I take issue with, if only because such a triumphant image belongs at the END of the book, not at the beginning. Annoyingly, the only reason I know who DID the artwork is that the artist signed it in the bottom left corner.
Cover - 5: Plain black with the simple, stark image of the classic S symbol bleeding. It screams "BUY ME!"
Book ReviewsComic Book Novelizations:
- The Gospel According to the World's Greatest Superhero
- The Man From Krypton
- The Original Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes - Volume 3: Superman
- Superman on Film, Television, Radio and Broadway
- Beyond Lois Lane
- The DC Comics Action Figure Archive
- Superman vs. Hollywood
- Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman
- Flights of Fantasy: The Unauthorized but True Story of Radio & TV's Adventures of Superman by Michael J. Hayde
- Our Hero: Superman on Earth by Tom De Haven
- Superman On Earth: Reflections of a Fan by Gary D. Robinson
- DC Super Heroes: The Ultimate Pop-Up Book by Matthew Reinhart
- The True Adventures of the World's Greatest Stuntman by Vic Armstrong
- The Ages of Superman: Essays on the Man of Steel in Changing Times
- Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero by Larry Tye
- Superman is an Arab by Joumana Haddad
- Superman is Jewish? by Harry Brod
- 100 Things Superman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Joseph McCabe
- Superman: The Persistence of an American Icon by Ian Gordon
- DC: Women of Action by Shea Fontana
- Superman: Last Son of Krypton
- Superman: Miracle Monday
- The Further Adventures of Superman
- It's Superman! by Tom De Haven
- DC Universe: Last Sons
- DC Universe: Trail of Time
- Last Days of Krypton by Kevin J. Anderson
- Enemies & Allies by Kevin J. Anderson
- DC Super-Pets! by Picture Window Books
- Dear Justice League by Michael Northrop
- Fallout (Lois Lane) by Gwenda Bond
- Double Down (Lois Lane) by Gwenda Bond
- Triple Threat (Lois Lane) by Gwenda Bond
- Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt De La Pena
- Smallville: Strange Visitors
- Smallville: Dragon
- Smallville: Hauntings
- Smallville: Whodunnit
- Smallville: Shadows
- Smallville: Silence
- Smallville: Curse
- Smallville: City
- Smallville: Arrival
- Smallville: See No Evil
- Smallville: Flight
- Smallville: Animal Rage
- Smallville: Speed
- Smallville: Buried Secrets
- Smallville: Greed
- Smallville: Temptation
- Smallville: Sparks
- JLA: Batman - The Stone King
- JLA: Wonder Woman - Mythos
- JLA: The Flash - Stop Motion
- JLA: JLA - Exterminators
- JLA: Green Lantern - Hero's Quest
- JLA: Superman - The Never-Ending Battle
- Superman Returns: Strange Visitor
- Superman Returns: Novelization
- Superman Returns: Coming Home
- Superman Returns: Earthquake in Metropolis!
- Superman Returns: I am Superman!
- Superman Returns: Be A Hero!
- Superman Returns: Thank You, Superman!
- Superman Returns: The Movie Storybook
- Superman Returns: The Visual Guide
- Superman Returns: The Official Movie Guide