Cody Greenberg's Reviews > It's Superman!

It's Superman! by Tom De Haven
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Sep 12, 09

bookshelves: probly-gonna-read-again-someday
Recommended for: Superman fans, dustbowl literature fans
Read in September, 2009

The Superman story has been re-invented for every generation, every few years. Same origin, baby Kal-El just landed in a different decade. If Superman is the ultimate hero, he needs to represent our contemporary values, so this all makes sense. Tom de Haven has gone back to the original era of the character - the 1920s and '30s, and created a back-story which works as a prequel to the Man of Steel, and a period novel as visceral, gritty and real as any document to come out of that time. Prequel stories exploring the origins of characters we've only known as adults are everywhere over the past few years - from "Smallville" to "Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles" to the "Star Wars" prequels, there is a definite interest in seeing where people come from, how they got to be who they are.

Reading this novel is akin to reading "A Clockwork Orange" or Shakespeare; all of the characters speak in (what I assume to be) authentic lingo of the time. It's not too difficult to gleen the meaning from context, and I found it actually helped slow me down a bit, made me pay more attention to the details. This is definitely a character-and-setting novel, about the environment, the details, the interactions and connections between people. You'll meet a few of the usual suspects, Lois Lane, and of course Lex Luthor. The Luthor robot plot is probably the book's Kryptonite, to borrow a local metaphor. Lex' machinations are devious, and several scenes with him are shocking, very well written, and some downright creepy, but it all amounts to a lot of build-up for a fight that is over almost before it's begun. The sole interaction between Lex and Clark is fantastic, setting up the rivalry that is a staple of the Superman mythos, but it comes too late, and is too brief, to fully satisfy.

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Reading Progress

08/24/2009 page 180
43.17%

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