Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Man of Steel: Superman and the Poisoned Planet Review (Matthew K. Manning, Luciano Vecchio)


I didn’t realise this wasn’t a comic when I requested it. Superman and the Poisoned Planet is a prose novel aimed at younger readers with some full page illustrations chucked in.

How do I know it’s a book for kiddies? The brevity of the story for one – it’s 80 pages long but printed in LARGE FONT with

double

spacing

so if you shrunk it down to normal text, minus the spacing and drawings, it’s more like a 15 page short story. Luciano Vecchio's art looks like cartoon TV show Superman, and the plot is rather cute. Poison Ivy’s holding the Daily Planet hostage – unless it starts using 100% recycled paper! Dawwww! Give her a biscuit! 

If Lois and co. think Superman can stop her, Ivy’s covered the whole building in kryptonite-infused vines, rendering him helpless. Hmm. An ordinary guy working his way through a hostile building to save his girl from a hostage-taking lunatic at the top floor? This is Die Hard (the child-friendly version)!

Matthew K. Manning’s writing style is also easy for kids to follow. He spells everything out simplistically because kids can’t possibly think and eat play-doh at the same time. Sample sentence:

“If Superman told anyone why he was late, then that would mean everyone would know he was Clark Kent. If the world found out that Clark and Superman were the same person, everyone he had ever met would become targets of Superman's countless enemies. And Superman refused to put other people at risk.” (p.15)

The level of writing and story, because it’s so clearly not aimed at grown-ups who read adult Superman stories (not that kind! Although…), meant this book was boring as shit for me. But thinking about it from a kid’s perspective? Might be fun. Ish. Maybe the parent reading to the kid?

It’s certainly age appropriate – the, ahem, “conflict” in the story is so tame it’s almost funny. And I have read some “grown-up” comics from DC that are dumber and more poorly written than this book (they usually have the New 52 logo on the cover). Mark Millar fans might find this too challenging.

Now if you’ll excuse me I has a colouring book to finish before my turn in the sandbox. 

The Man of Steel: Superman and the Poisoned Planet

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