Tuesday, February 27, 2007

IT'S SUPERMAN! by Tom De Haven

Part of me will never tire of seeing, hearing, or reading the Superman story. That said, I have been known to criticize the more far-fetched interpretations, so I was excited to learn that Tom De Haven's retelling was perhaps the most grounded of all.

De Haven ignores Metropolis in favor of a 1930s New York full of local color and period detail. Lex Luthor is an up-and-coming politico looking to unseat LaGuardia. Lois Lane is a go-getter who defies everyone's ideas of who she ought to be. Clark Kent is a shy farm kid coming to grips with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Giving each character quirks, De Haven makes them present in his story beyond any preconceptions readers may have.

Willi Berg, De Haven's own character, starts the chain of events that brings the principals together when he surreptitiously photographs Luthor trying to cover up a multiple-murder. After an attempt on his life, Berg's girlfriend, Lois Lane, calls in some favors to get him a new identity a long way from New York—Kansas to be exact.

Much of the book builds the legends of Lex, Lois, and Clark. True they don't meet until two-thirds through the book, but those first meetings deserve the hype. That's the point of greatest potential, launching all the other tales.

1 comment:

H. C. said...

oh wow. I'd bought this last fall, and somehow completely forgot about it! Sounds like just what I need to cleanse the palate after High Profile (not horrible, just not what a Jesse Stone novel ought to be)

Thanks for the reminder!