Book Reviews - Stand-Alone/Solo Titles
Superman: Last Son of KryptonWriter: Elliot S! Maggin
Published by: Warner Books (December 1978)
Reviewed by: Aaron Thall
Krypton dies, but Jor-El sends Kal-El into space towards Earth. You know what happens next. However, this time, something else is revealed. Jor-El sends a secret message to a respected Earth scientist, asking him to watch over his son. For reasons of his own, the mysterious man allows the Kents to find the ship first.
Years later, as Superman deals with a bizarre and flamboyant attempt at bank robbery, Lex Luthor theatrically steals the secret papers of Albert Einstein.
These papers gain the attention of the alien minstrel Towbee, as well as the attention of a being simply known as Master. At the behest of the Master, Towbee goes to Earth and delivers a cryptic prophesy, before going and stealing the Einstein papers from Luthor.
Luthor attempts to use Clark Kent to contact Superman, only to wind up in jail for his troubles. As this happens, Superman and Luthor both spend time remembering their shared past in Smallville.
Soon, Superman is contacted by the banished Guardian called Old-Timer, and is warned of a great danger posed to the cosmos by the papers. Superman realizes that he will have to work with Lex Luthor to get the papers back.
Soon enough, the bitter enemies are on the alien world Oric, a planet whose blue sun affects Superman's perceptions, weakening them. But Lex seemingly betrays Superman, and embarks on an investigation of his own, an investigation that unveils a terrible plot of genocide, universal domination, and... a galactic real estate scam?
It seems that it's up to Luthor to save the universe and Superman. But even if he can, they'll still have to unmask the mysterious Master before he can add the Earth to his plans...
Story - 4: Leave it to Maggin to use a novel to tell a story about a bad businessman with delusions of grandeur. As I read the story, I'm struck as to one really GOOD reason the Crisis struck half a decade later. Superman here is simply too powerful to be interesting. He can fly through space unaided. Luthor can do the same in a ship. It loses a human perspective.
Still, for a pre-Crisis Superman story, it's pretty good. The mystery of the Master is intriuging. When his identity is revealed, you wanna slap your forehead for not having seen it coming.
The fun at the news station was cute, but ultimately served only to illustrate why Clark's better as a reporter than an anchorman. Towbee's a fun character, although I don't know if he actually appeared before this novel or if he's an original character.
[Editor's Note: Towbee's first appearance was in the comics, in Action Comics #480, "The Made to Order Menace!"]
The best part of the novel is Luthor's fun with a universal translator. Within seconds, he has his alien captors unknowingly insulting each other. Hysterically funny.
Interior Art - 4: Inside the novel is sixteen pages of images from "Superman: The Movie". While black and white, it's still a nice assortment. The downside is that there aren't enough pictures of Superman.
Cover - 2: White background. Out of place announcement of pictures inside. Small, shadowy picture of Superman pointing with a curved finger for some reason. It looks like he's pointing to the title and saying "LOOK! Words! Pretty!" Laughable. I also point out that the title has almost NOTHING to do with the plot. SIGH.
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- The Original Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes - Volume 3: Superman
- Superman on Film, Television, Radio and Broadway
- Beyond Lois Lane
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- Our Hero: Superman on Earth by Tom De Haven
- Superman On Earth: Reflections of a Fan by Gary D. Robinson
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- 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
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- Superman is Jewish? by Harry Brod
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- 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
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- Smallville: Dragon
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- 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
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