GRAPHIC NOVEL
Superman Returns
The Movie and Other Tales of the Man of Steel

Author: Various
Artists: Various
Titan Books
RRP 7.99
ISBN 1 84576 282 7
Available 05 July 2006


Following a mysterious absence of several years, the Man of Steel comes back to Earth to discover that an old enemy is plotting to render him powerless once and for all. He also faces the heartbreaking realisation that the woman he loves, Lois Lane has moved on with her life...

At the time of writing this review I have yet to see the movie Superman Returns. And, to be perfectly honest, I doubt I'm going to bother if this graphic novel is any indication of what to expect. The plot is so thin that I couldn't understand why there have been so many positive movie reviews.

Basically Superman returns to Earth after a wild goose chase - he was led to believe that Krypton, his home planet, may not have been totally destroyed after all. On his return he's surprised (surprisingly) to discover that the world has moved on. People no longer want a superhero and, it would seem, neither does his old flame Lois Lane. Oh, and Lex still wants to control him. And that, in a nutshell, is your lot.

It's no surprise, therefore, to discover that the plot for Superman Returns takes up only a third of this slim collection - the rest of the pages are taken up with reprints of other Superman stories which, to be quite honest, are a lot better than the movie section.

For the movie segment they've opted for a "make the characters look like the actors" style of presentation which doesn't quite work as half of the illustrations look nothing like who they are supposed to be. Also there were far too many panels where it is unclear what on earth is going on. I read, reread and then asked someone else to see if they could shed light on these panels. In total four of us, all with degrees, were left scratching our heads. How ironic then that after one particularly confusing segment Superman simply says: "I'm not sure what just happened, but I'm going to find out."

To sum up, this is a poorly illustrated affair for a story that is so shallow that a couple of preteens could have written it in a lazy afternoon. If I was Superman I'd be wondering why I'd bothered returning in the first place.

Darren Rea

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