Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Man of Steel: Superman and the Poisoned Planet by Matthew K. Manning Review

Review By Patrick Challis

Written By Matthew K. Manning
Illustrated By Luciano Vecchio

Superhero, Adventure, Children's


POISON IVY is sick and tired of watching the Daily Planet newspaper produce billions of pounds of waste each year. With a little help from a recently discovered crashed kryptonite meteorite, IVY creates a voracious vine and covers the Daily Planet building with her creeping creation. That way, she can hold the paper hostage and keep SUPERMAN out!

Part of the DC Super Heroes series. For ages 8-12.

DC SUPER HEROES chapter books feature the WORLD'S GREATEST SUPER HEROES including SUPERMAN. The MAN OF STEEL defeats aliens and super-villains in METROPOLIS, and rescues LOIS LANE and JIMMY OLSEN. With original art by DC COMICS illustrators, these full-color chapter books give young readers glowing examples of bravery, loyalty, and true heroism.

* Never-before-told stories about the WORLD’S GREATEST SUPER HEROES with original art by DC Comics illustrators
* Ties nicely to the release of Man of Steel movie release in Spring 2013
* Extras in the books include: profiles of the characters, police records on the villains and discussion questions
* 88 page chapter books


 As a big fan of the Superman character and also as a father, I've also wanted to get my little son in to the adventures involving the 'Man of Steel' and that's when I found out about these novels for the 8-12 age bracket.

In the comic medium, Superman's heroics are always easy to elaborate on through the ease of being able to draw the action but his adventures haven't really translated that well to novels.

Here, Matthew K. Manning, has done a solid job of bringing the iconic superhero from the DC comic books in to the pre-teen book genre.  The simplistic but effective writing really aids the child's imagination as you read this exciting story to them.  Manning's descriptive style really brings the surroundings and the characters to life and helps to grips the child's imagination.

One of the main points of the book that works for me is the fact that beneath the superhero story of good against evil, there's also an ecological message there too as Poison Ivy tries to punish the world for polluting and killing it's plant life.  I've always found Poison Ivy to be a very under rated character in the DC world as she has a high moral ground about the harm we are doing to the planet but she just goes about it in the wrong way by breaking the law.  That's explored here brilliantly by Manning's writing but in a way that the young readers can easily understand without dumbing it down at all.

Teamed up with the wonderfully cartoon style illustrations by Luciano Vecchio, this book really is a great way of getting the little ones interested in the superhero world.  Even though it's meant for 8-12 year olds, I read it to my young son Cyrus, who's 4, and he was entranced by it.  Granted I did phrase some of the more complicated sentences in a simpler way for him but I really feel that the age group it's aimed at really will get a lot of enjoyment out of the story.

All in all, a good solid read and well worth  picking up if you're a comic book nerd of a parent such as myself and you want to get your kids in to that world.

Story 4/5
Characters 4/5
Recommended 4/5
Overall 12/15

"I like Superman.  He fly sometime doesn't he?"

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