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Literature / Miracle Monday

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Miracle Monday is a novel about Superman written by Elliot S! Maggin who had previously written another Superman novel, Last Son of Krypton. It came out around the time of the second Superman movie, but it's not a novelization of it, but rather a separate story taking place in the comic book's continuity. Maggin based it on a similar story he wrote once for the Superman comics.

The novel is about Kristin Wells, a far-future descendant of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, who comes back in time to find out the origin of the holiday known as Miracle Monday, a day that commemorates how Superman gave every human being hope. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor discovers the physical basis for magic and uses that knowledge to escape prison. In so doing, he opens the way for C.W. Saturn, the Agent of Hell, to enter the Earth-plane. Saturn takes possession of Kristin Wells and proceeds to wreak havoc, offering Superman a stark choice: the only way to stop the chaos is for Superman to break his highest vow and take the life of Kristin Wells. Superman must find a way to deal with Luthor's schemes while confronting the Devil himself, all while holding true to his own highest values.

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This novel is best remembered for introducing the character of Kristin, who would go on to become Superwoman in the comics, as well as containing perhaps the most awesome moment of Superman's career: outsmarting The Devil himself!


Tropes:

  • As Himself: Author Ray Bradbury is depicted as a casual acquaintance of Superman's. Mentalist Max Maven is portrayed as a real, somewhat sinister magician who gives Superman an Info Dump on Saturn.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Superman, who is the nicest of nice guys in both Superman and Clark Kent guises, gets terrifyingly enraged when he realizes that all the events were a Batman Gambit by Saturn to try and force him to kill Kristin, thereby violating his one rule. Subverted in the end as he calms down, and in the final analysis, it is his integrity and humility that allows him to defeat Saturn. But for a brief moment, Beware the Superman, indeed.
  • Canon Foreigner: Kristin.
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    • In the comics, she became a Canon Immigrant as one of the people to become Superwoman.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Justified in-universe. Lex ruminates that he could have set up a nice legitimate living selling his world-changing inventions, but that nobody would trust to do business with a career felon like him. Later in the book, it's mixed with Reed Richards Is Useless when Superman uses Luthor's healing serum to save Kristin's life after she's nearly killed by Saturn. When Superman turns over a sample to the FDA for testing for eventual distribution( It's a serum that could possibly heal any disease on earth — the world would have beat a path to Lexy's door...), it's revealed that a few years down the line, it's eventually rejected as it failed lab testing due to side effects.
  • The Cape: Although a given for Superman, it's this quality that specifically draws Saturn to try and defeat him.
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  • Demonic Possession: Kristin falls victim to it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Lex Luthor goes to extremely elaborate lengths to avoid betraying Superman to Saturn, although he didn't know that it was all a set-up by Superman in the first place. Kristin theorizes that as much as Lex hated Superman, he wouldn't want to see him damned to Hell.
  • Expansion Pack Past: This novel features the origin of Superman's vow to never kill.
  • Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: On Jimmy Olsen's part. He's crazy about Kristin. She won't date him, though, because she knows she's his many-greats granddaughter.
  • Fetish: Men of Kristin's native time no longer have body hair, so Kristin becomes fascinated with the concept in general and by Steve Lombard's chest hair specifically.
  • Flashback: Used to show Superman's youth in Smallville.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The devils do not actually look like their traditional image, it's just a form designed to scare humans.
  • Friendly Enemy: This story plays up how Superman/Clark Kent and Lex Luthor were boyhood friends before they became enemies.
  • Heroic BSoD: Superman has one after Saturn outs his Secret Identity on live television. "Losing" Clark Kent makes him feel cut off from humanity.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Superman, of all people, pulls an absolutely epic one on Luthor to try and find out how Luthor escaped.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In the end, only Superman and Kristin remember what happened.
  • Mythology Gag: The interview with Perry, Jimmy and Lois has a funny moment where Perry can't get the name "Mister Mxyzptlk" correct, finally pronouncing it "Mixel-plik", like a lot of real-world people who try to wrestle with the name. note 
  • Noble Shoplifter: Superman races around the world at super-speed gathering ingredients needed to resolve an emergency, always remembering to leave money or an IOU where appropriate.
  • Noodle Incident: Ray Bradbury once drove Superboy to Disneyland in an attempt to convince Walt Disney to run for mayor of Los Angeles. (It didn't work.)
  • Omniscient Morality License: As a side-effect of defeating Saturn, Superman temporarily becomes literally infallible. Being Superman, he uses it to set the world to rights after Saturn's rampage.
  • Precision F-Strike: During Lois' What the Hell, Hero? speech, she takes full advantage of the fact that novels were not bound by the Comics Code Authority to say that she felt "shitty".
    • Lex comes close too, calling Superman a "son of a rabid terrier" when he learns Clark was Superman all along thanks to Saturn's meddling.
  • Reality Ensues: Superman, even though he has the power to stop all the nuclear warheads on Earth being fired at once from actually impacting, is still a finite being, and can be pushed to the point of overexertion. that's part of Saturn's master plan.
  • Science Vs Magic: Contains both Time Travel and infernal entities.
    • Also a Discussed Trope, as Saturn's meddling is compared with Mister Mxyzptlk's occasional harrassment of Superman.
  • Secret Identity Apathy: Lex Luthor uses multiple false identities in the course of his schemes, all of them disposable masks that he's prepared to drop immediately if they're discovered or cease to be useful. He doesn't make any effort to discover Superman's secret identity because he assumes that it's equally disposable and Superman will just switch to a new one. Also, he believes Clark Kent to be too much of a wuss to be able to keep up such a charade. When he learns the truth, he lets out a near Precision F-Strike.
  • Serendipitous Symphony: Superman turns up his super-hearing to maximum and listens to every sound on Earth simultaneously, hearing it as music. Hearing that his own sounds are part of the planet's music helps him to recover from his Heroic BSoD.
  • Shed the Family Name: In an extreme case, Lex Luthor's entire family changed their names to avoid being associated with him. His parents took the surname "Thorul" for themselves and their remaining offspring. Lex's kid sister, Lena Thorul, was only an infant when it happened and doesn't know she's related to the notorious criminal Lex Luthor.
  • Shout-Out: To The Devil and Daniel Webster.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Lex Luthor discovers the physical basis for the forces of magic and harnesses it to escape from prison. In doing so, he opens the way for Saturn to enter the Earth-plane.
  • That Man Is Dead: Superman feels this was the ultimate fate of his Clark Kent identity after Saturn/Kristin outs him. It is even referred to in the novel as akin to a murder as far as Superman is concerned.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: Superman's main virtue, and the very heart of the story.
  • Time Travel: Kristin Wells is a time-travelling historian from the future doing historical research in early-80's Metropolis.
  • Title Drop: There is a "Miracle Monday" in the story itself.
  • Took a Third Option: Superman would not kill the possessed Kristin; he would rather spend the rest of his life fighting Saturn.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After Superman's Secret Identity as Clark is outed by Saturn, Lois tears into him for both making her feel like a fool and then not coming to her to talk about it until much later. In Superman's defense, he was trying to save the world from The Devil.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In this story, we learn that watching someone, anyone, die literally makes Superman/Clark sick.

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