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As the dying planet Krypton tears itself apart, Jor-El, Krypton's greatest scientist, launches a tiny interstellar ship into the frigid void of space bearing in its hold his only child--the infant who will become Earth's Superman! From his childhood in Smallville, to his emergence as Metropolis newsman Clark Kent, through his battles with his arch-enemy Luthor, his story is told anew and as never before, with all the drama and excitement that have enthralled three generations of fans!
I'll be honest, on my superhero grading scale, Superman doesn't really fall anywhere near the top (my top 3 being: the X-Men, Spider-Man, & Batman). Sure, I absolutely love the show Smallville, and I even enjoy watching Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, but I have never cracked open a Superman comic book, and I don't really care for him in most of his other forms (be it cartoon, movie, etc.).
Nonetheless, I found an old copy of this book and decided to give it a shot, as I've been re-watching Smallville and was kinda feelin' it. One thing to note about this book is that it was first published in 1978, so of course it's rather dated (which I don't mind, as every decade has its own good books and bad books). In fact, it was actually pretty fun to read something from the late 70s, because I got to picture clothing and technology in a vastly different way than I normally do while reading.
Anywho, despite going into this book not knowing whether or not I would like Maggin's novel version of Superman, I soon found myself enjoying it. Maggin really captured the feel of the Silver Age of Comic Books through his writing, and though I have yet to read a Superman comic, this book made me feel as though I was reading one. Even the storyline felt very comic-y: it involved Jor-El sending off a baby Superman into the care of an earthling named Albert Einstein, who put him in the care of a really nice couple (John & Martha Kent); it also described an adult Superman having to work together with nemesis Lex Luthor in order to thwart an evil plan by an alien enemy.
What I really enjoyed reading in this book was the relationship between Superman and Lex Luthor. Maggin juxtaposed flashbacks of their boyhood friendship with scenes of their current rivalry, which really painted a picture of the complicated relationship that they have. If there is one thing about the Superman franchise that I love, it's the relationship between Lex and Clark (one of the reasons why I love Smallville so much). Maggin really made Lex so friggin' awesome - in this story he was less poised billionaire player, and more spastic-oddball science geek (love!).
Lex was the best part of this novel, and really made me laugh out loud. I may have found the storyline to be a bit on the dorky side (Albert Einstein and aliens? Really?), but his character made it all worth it. I don't think I'll ever read this one again, though, and I'd give it 3.5 Stars. By my particular rating scale it gets: