The Superman Monster
by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Anthony Williams (DC Comics, 1999)

As Elseworlds tales go, The Superman Monster lacks luster.

The story is well told, certainly, and the familiar characters from the Superman canon are worked neatly into the plot. But writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning worked so hard to blend the Superman origin with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein that there's little originality to freshen the package.

Set in late 19th-century Switzerland, this graphic novel replaces mad scientist Victor Frankenstein with Vicktor Luthor. Eloise (nee Lois) is engaged to marry Luthor, whose experiments into matters of life and death have led to his expulsion from the finest academic circles. But when a rocket crashes to Earth carrying the scientific secrets of long-dead Krypton (as well as the corpse of the baby it carried from that doomed world), Luthor plunders the alien science to complete his work and raise the dead.

But the patchwork corpse -- more Bizarro than Superman -- has strange powers that frighten Luthor, who tries from then on to destroy his creation.

If you have even a passing familiarity with the lore of both Superman and Frankenstein, you can pretty much predict what will happen. It's interesting enough for a passing read, but it's lacking in original thought.

review by
Tom Knapp

7 July 2007

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