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Literature / Last Son of Krypton

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An alien named The Master plots to take over the galaxy, and Superman must join forces with his worst enemy and childhood friend Lex Luthor to stop him.

A 1970s Superman novel by Elliot S! Maggin. It was originally proposed as the idea for a Superman movie, and the novel was released as a companion to the first Superman movie - although the plot and characterization (especially that of Luthor) differ greatly from the movie. (Even the location of Krypton is different; in the movie, Superman claims he comes from another galaxy, while in this novel Krypton is said to have orbited Antares.)

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As this novel was written prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths, Superman's powers reach near-ridiculous levels at some points. He flies through the core of the sun to take a refreshing bath. He fires a blast of air between his front teeth that disables a helicopter several blocks away, yet doesn't even affect anything else nearby. He takes out an entire mob of Lex Luthor's goons, one man at a time and in a different and inventively nonlethal way with each man, before a ten-second countdown finishes. It doesn't quite reach the truly insane levels shown in some episodes of the Super Friends ("With Colossus distracted, I'll pick the Earth out of his pocket and put it back in orbit around the sun"), but it comes close.

There's also a sequel called Miracle Monday.

The book can be read online here.


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This book provides examples of:

  • Author Appeal: This book contains an awful lot of a)Luthor and b)Einstein. It also plays up Superman's role as the Big Good of the DC Universe to a nigh-supernatural level.
  • Badass Boast: How Superman persuades Luthor to give himself up at the end of the book.
  • Big Bad: The Master
  • Big Good: This story establishes Superman as the Big Good of the DC Universe, saying that he's a force for good so strong that it defies fate and death.
  • Cardboard Prison
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: Discussed at length by one passage, which states Superman's greatest fear is having his secret identity leaked and being forced to live as Earth's biggest celebrity 24/7. The Einstein-centric chapters also touch on this; at one point, he grimly jokes that with all the government agents watching him 24/7, he might as well have stayed behind in Nazi Germany.
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  • Character Name Alias: Lex Luthor uses the name 'Abraham Lincoln' when passing through an alien spaceport.
  • Immune to Fate: The Master is predestined to kill Superman and conquer the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy. Superman, being the Big Good of the D.C. Universe, proceeds to come Back from the Dead and win anyway.
  • Master of Illusion: Toybee
  • The Omniscient: An alien prophet, Sonnabend, has a 100% prediction rate that spans eight billion years and he predicts that the Big Bad will win in the Prologue. When Superman prevails, the Epilogue shows Sonnabend rewriting his prophecy to reflect this.
  • Secret Ingredient: Clark makes a bet with his rival Steve Lombard that Mrs. Kent's soft drink is the best drink ever. While on the planet Oric, he obtains a spice so powerful that a drop of it added to his mother's drink would make it irresistible to the human palette.
  • Stolen by Staying Still: Lex Luthor robs a sealed safe by making a hologram of himself appear out of it as soon as it opens. While everyone searches for him, the real Luthor gets in without a problem.
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