Book Reviews

Buy Now!

Book Reviews - Stand-Alone/Solo Titles

The Further Adventures of Superman

The Further Adventures of Superman

Editor: Martin H. Greenberg
Cover: ?

Published by: Bantam Spectra (October 1993)

Written by: Dave Gibbons

"The Riddle of Superman's Mask"
Written by: Will Murray

Written by: Diane Duane

"Lucifer Over Lancaster"
Written by: Elizabeth Hand and Paul Witcover

"Dateline: Metropolis"
Written by: Karen Haber

"Mine Enemy Grows Older"
Written by: Joey Cavalieri

"Forget Me Not"
Written by: Mark Waid

"Deja Vu All Over Again"
Written by: Edward Wellen

"Excerpt from the Diary of Dr. Morris Finkelstein"
Written by: Mike Resnick

"I Now Pronounce You Superman and Wife"
Written by: Henry Slesar

"The Warrior of the Final Dawn"
Written by: Garfield Reeves-Stevens

Written by: Dave Gibbons

Reviewed by: Aaron Thall

Click to enlarge

REVIEWER'S NOTE: While I will be grading each entry separately, save "Prologue" and "Epilogue", the nature of these two particular stories necessitates me treating the anthology as one large story for the purposes of summary.

In outer space, Superman discovers a mysterious jewel capable of showing him what was, what is, and what could be...

An earthquake in Greece leads to a startling change in Superman, leaving the world to wonder what has changed its hero into a hermit.

Superman must uncover the connection between a godlike specter visiting people across the globe, and an approaching spaceship with enough power to stop even him.

When an experiment on a psychic alien goes terribly wrong, a town goes mad, and Superman must uncover whether the creature could be the fallen angel Lucifer. But even more important, to save lives, will he be forced to kill?

Lois Lane begins to suspect that a businessman, Roger Gunn, is really Superman.

In a possible future, Superman is given an opportunity by Lex Luthor to become a god.

The gods of Olympus alter history in an attempt to corrupt Superman's pure soul, taking away the love of his life, Lois Lane.

A temporal wormhole in space leads Superman to an attempt to keep Krypton from being destroyed, but what he discovers may not just mean his own doom, but the end of Earth as well.

Dr. Morris Finklestein, in World War II, examines Clark Kent to determine if he's fit to serve in the military.

Lois goes after a mad scientist that not only survived seeming death, but uncovered Superman's secret identity. In the aftermath, to keep from losing her to another, Superman reveals his secret and proposes. But the marriage isn't what it seems...

Superman must uncover how and why a Kryptonian serial killer is escaping the Phantom Zone to stalk Metropolis... And what his connection is to Lex Luthor.

But will Superman be able to resist the temptation of the jewel?

3"Prologue/Epilogue" - 3: A tiny story in two parts, this serves primarily as the reasoning behind many of the stories featured not fitting with continuity, most notably "Deja Vu". Superman just randomly finds the jewel in space and decides after a while to stop looking. No real depth.

3"The Riddle of Superman's Mask" - 3: A seeming tribute to the strange transformations Superman underwent during the Silver Age, this story revolves around the supposed mystery of what happened to Superman in a cavern, and what happened to his face. However, it's brought down simply because, in order to actually be a mystery, it would have to have offered fewer clues. As it is, it's blatantly obvious within a few pages what happened. It's also hurt by the cover of the novel, which semi-depicts an event in the story. By pretending it's a mystery when it really isn't, it insults the intelligence of the reader. But as a strange transformation, it's a fun story.

2"Apparitions" - 2: And Diane Duane again convinces me that she shouldn't be allowed to write super hero stories in outer space. Regular readers are well aware of my distain for her space-based X-Men novel "Empire's End", a novel so dull and pedestrian that I don't know why it warranted a hardcover release. Unfortunately, she again portrays a battle in space, and manages to convey absolutely none of the excitement that a battle between Superman and a starship should have. It's as exciting as brushing your teeth. The story is saved only by the mystery of the ship's purpose and the strange apparitions haunting people.

5"Lucifer Over Lancaster" - 5: One of the superior stories in this collection. The mystery surrounding the alien is exciting, and Superman's dilemma is a believable one. His solution expertly displays why Superman is an inspiring hero. The other characters in the story, notably the priest, leave a great impression of fallibility and believability. While not terribly exciting, it's a good examination of Superman's morality and intelligence.

5"Dateline: Metropolis" - 5: Another superior story, the reader knows from the beginning that Lois is incorrect in her deductions, and yet terribly close at the same time. It's amusing to see Clark's reaction, and if one pays close attention, they'll realize what's going on behind the scenes. In truth, Lois' tale is really a subplot masquerading as the main event, and the reversal is an amusing one.

4"Mine Enemy Grows Older" - 4: A utopian future, save for Superman, who is no longer needed by Earth. He's resorted to making a world for himself populated by robots. I honestly don't see Superman cutting himself off from the world that raised him, which is why this story is docked a point. The ending of this tale is a disturbing one, simply because, ultimately, Luthor wins.

4"Forget Me Not" - 4: Magic rewrites history so that Superman and Lois never met. It's all a test to see if Superman would selfishly deprive Lois of a perfect existence just to be in her life. Superman's moral choice is never in question, but his absolute passiveness towards this attack is troubling.

1"Deja Vu All Over Again" - 1: An absolute disaster that makes Duane's contribution look good. First, there's the implausibility of a wormhole leading to Krypton just before it explodes. Then there's the rewriting of DC history to introduce villains we'll never actually see in the comics. Third, the writer forgets that Superman loses his powers when near red sun radiation. Fourth, I doubt Clark would be so careless when it comes to documentation of his flight vouchers as to endanger his integrity and secret identity. The story is completely unbelievable by any standard, and Superman not only fails utterly in his mission, but he's forced to shoulder some of the blame for his planet's death. He even lets the villains get away without a fight. And then, to rub salt in the wound, the author steals a bit from Marvel's Adam Warlock and Fantastic Four titles, and has Superman take pieces of Krypton and build a Counter Earth on the other side of the sun. It's a blatant rip-off. Bluntly, he ought to have been sued. Atrocious.

3"Excerpt from the Diary of Dr. Morris Finkelstein" - 3: While it's a funny short story, I really can't see the golden age Superman being so absolutely careless with his powers while in his secret identity. The doctor comes off as reasonably intelligent, so not figuring out that Clark is Superman is inexcusable.

5"I Now Pronounce You Superman and Wife" - 5: Before "Lois & Clark" disturbed us with a marriage between Superman and a frog devouring clone, this brilliant story expertly displays the dangers of cloning in the hands of a man who knows Superman's secret identity. It's one of the best attacks on Superman I've ever seen, and the entire story is expertly written. Just when you think you know where it's going, it does a 180 and goes in a completely different direction, before making you realize that it tricked you again. My favorite from this anthology.

4"The Warrior of the Final Dawn" - 4: A bit confusing, this story is yet another mystery (and geez, this anthology has a lot of them). This time, it isn't a whodunit, but a HOWdunit. Superman's efforts to uncover the method of escape used are fascinating, and it's always nice to see him and Lex Luthor interact. Especially touching is the tearful and heartbreaking reunion that takes place late in the story. Having Batman appear at the beginning and ending, and yet never calling him that, is just the icing on the cake.

3Cover Art - 3: Superman fighting a Gorgon and starting to turn to stone, a semi-representation of "Mask" from the anthology. However, one, it's a lousy choice for an anthology cover. Two, it's not entirely accurate, either, since Superman isn't turned to stone in the story. Three, there's no credit for who drew it, so it's a bit irritating. If they wanted to choose a cover to represent a story within the book, there were several superior options. And as it is, it also spoils "Mask", hurting that story.

Book Reviews

Comic Book Novelizations: Movie Novelizations: Non-Fiction/Reference Books: Stand-Alone/Solo Titles: Lois Lane Titles: DC Icons Series Titles: Super Sons Series Titles: House of El Series Titles: Smallville Titles: Smallville Young Adults Series: Justice League of America Titles: Superman Returns Titles: Man of Steel Titles: