Robin Tell's Reviews > Miracle Monday: A novel of Superman

Miracle Monday by Elliot S! Maggin
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Mar 26, 09

bookshelves: reviewing-this-from-memory
Read in January, 1985

The degree to which these two little novels (Last Son of Krypton, Miracle Monday) have shaped my idea of how a novel works is a long-standing, embarrassing little secret of mine. Personally, despite the pop-culture nature of the very idea of a Superman novel, I have always felt Maggin accomplished some powerful and noteworthy storytelling here. This is Superman at his most godlike, but it’s also a deeper, more thoroughgoing examination of his lifetime and psyche than I’ve ever seen attempted anywhere else. Lex Luthor, too, becomes a character with his own past and preoccupations, and dozens of projects underway at all times few of which have anything to do with Superman. The ensemble cast around them is drawn on familiar characters from the comics, each done in similarly loving closeup, plus a pile of others from the author’s own head. Maggin is a deft writer of dialogue, with a light comedic tone most of the time.

But structurally, these books are pretty intricate, with the main action often deliberately buried in a flurry of unrelated or tangentially related incidents (Maggin is also a great maker of lists, which may be a stylistic tic or may just be the inevitable result of larding on so much byplay while the plot goes sneaking along underneath). It’s not hard to read them a couple times before you’re strictly clear on which characters were actually Luthor in disguise all along, for example, because Maggin is quite content to let disguises of that sort go unmasked for many chapters in a row. When a new character or scene is introduced, its importance to the story can take quite a while to emerge, but you do need to pay attention if you want to catch it when the reveal comes.

Well worth your time whether you’re particularly interested in the comics or not.
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