I’ve mentioned before — I think more than a couple times — that I am a superhero prose novel aficionado. I own more superhero prose novels than anyone that I have ever known and I don’t think there’s anybody in my city let alone my state that probably owns as many of them as I do. I’m not saying that lightly I’m not saying that the brag but I’m saying that because this just seems to be a niche that a lot of people really don’t get into in terms of collecting. I collect superhero prose novels. They can be a little difficult to come by. With the advent of the Internet, it’s been a boon to me in this newfound hobby of mine.
Currently according to my Goodreads page, I have 112 superhero prose novels. That may not seem like a lot but actually it is quite a bit considering the number that have been printed in the last three decades. I take great satisfaction in collecting these stories because they are usually a more in-depth look at the heroes that we all know and love. They come from the source material of comic books (of which I have several thousand of those as well) for the most part and it is good to be able to get closer have more knowledge about the character than somebody hopping on the bandwagon because they happen to see a character flashed across movie screen.
Last month, I mentioned that I was reading a book called Smallville – Strange Visitors by Roger Stern. It’s one of several books that were put out in the early 2000’s (2002 to be exact) that was based on the extremely popular television show on the CW of the same name. It actually is supposed to fit into the continuity of the television show and tells you when these particular stories take place in reference to the television show.
At the time, I mentioned that I was enjoying the book. I was because I wasn’t too far into the book. The reason why I started to read the book and the reason why I bought the book was because of the author, Roger Stern. Now if you’re not familiar with Roger Stern, he is primarily a comic book writer and one of the better comic writers from the 80s and 90s. I believe that one of his seminal works was the prestige graphic novel Triumph of Torment where Dr. Doom barely loses out on being the Sorcerer Supreme of the Marvel universe to Dr. Strange. From that point onward, everybody took Doom much more seriously in his skill in the magical and dark arts. Sterns also had a fair run on The Avengers before anybody began to hop on that bandwagon. I have that full run on that or close to it.
I’ve now completed it and wanted to let my dear readers know what they can look forward to in picking up this book. I’m not gonna give any spoilers but this review is going to be a summary where you can make an informed decision.
Strange Visitors has all of the characters on the television show that were prominent during the early years: Clark Kent, Pete Ross, Chloe Sullivan, Lana Lang, and John and Martha Kent. There are others but those would be the bread-and-butter characters of the show that make an appearance in the book.
If you read the back blurb on the book you’ll find that it is a little misleading once you read the book. The story focuses on Donald Jacobi which the blurb calls a spiritual guru but he really isn’t in the book. He is more like a self-help guru who swoops into Smallville with his partner and sets up shop with their Ascendance Foundation after looking at Chloe’s website and deciding that something is going on there with all of these meteors. They decide to run their snake oil salesman gig there but something unexpected happens. What starts out as a con ends up turning part of the two-man team into a true believer. In the interim, people have their suspicions, Clark being one of them who has a personal interest because the meteors are kryptonite. The question is will he be able to put a halt to the spread of his greatest weakness which is at the heart of Jacobi’s organization?
The book starts off well and then it just levels off and just really goes nowhere. The climax of the book leading up to the end leaves you with a certain sense of “that’s it?” If you’re a fan of the television show then you might be curious as to what happens exactly but if not then you probably get a be tempted to put it down and move on to something else. Myself, I just like to finish what I start. And I did finish this and best that I can give it is a C (remember, my grading scale is A+ to F). I feel a little sad in saying that because I really like Roger Sterns but the book is mediocre at best. The writing is what actually carries it so if he had a better plot line, it probably would’ve been much better.
So it’s on to the next book which I will be posting here for you when I decide. In the meantime, let me know what you are reading right now and, if applicable, what was the last superhero novel that you read.
Until next time I friends, see you in the Tapestry.