I can’t remember when I got Elliot S. Maggin’s Superman: Last Son of Krypton or read it last. Probably sometime in the ’90s on both counts.
So, curiosity drove me to reread it. The novel is a fun, quick read. Even though it’s got Christopher Reeve on the cover and movie photos inside, it’s based on 1970s Superman comics, not the movie series.
This Clark Kent has moved on from the Daily Planet and is a TV reporter. This Superman has extra powers, including super-memory and the ever-useful super-ventriloquism. This Lex Luthor spent some of his childhood in Smallville and knew young Clark and Superboy (and lost his hair in a lab accident, because in old-school comics, even something as commonplace as baldness requires a special origin story).
The book’s cast also includes the Guardians from Green Lantern — and none other than Albert Einstein, who’s retconned into Superman’s origin story (which is unnecessary generally but works for the book).
Elliot S. Maggin’s novel reads like a fleshed-out version of a ’70s comic book, and he plays it straight, as though the strange, colorful world of old Superman comics is the most natural thing ever. It’s nice to find such a superhero story *without* any self-aware, self-deprecating meta humor. Instead, we just have Superman being Superman, with a very well-written Lex Luthor threatening to steal the show.
Maggin had a second Superman novel, Miracle Monday, which I’ve never read, but now I’m curious.