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Strange Visitors: Smallville Book 1    by Roger Stern order for
Strange Visitors
by Roger Stern
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (2002)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is the first in a series of original adventures, based on Warner Brother's highly rated Smallville tv show. It shows us a young Superman, growing into (and being surprised by) his powers, while dealing with the ongoing Twilight Zone effects of the 1989 meteor shower on the town where he lives and attends high school (there is another Smallville series for young adults, which is fast to read and equally entertaining.) Aside from having to cope with superpowers, Clark is an ordinary kid, with the usual hassles and hangups of the teen years.

This time, Clark's group of friends plan a fundraising to help the family of one of their peers who is dying of cancer. At the same time, a couple of con artists rent farm land, where they set up a tent show for a series of seminars on alternate healing and 'cosmic fulfillment' aimed at winning new members to their lucrative 'Ascendance Foundation.' An accident at the event results in an apparent miracle and more media attention for the area than is desired either by Clark's parents or by the Luthors, who of course have their own agendas.

It's a well executed and exciting series of events, but what I find I am enjoying most in this series so far is the drama of the friendship between young Clark and Lex, in which the latter often acts as a kind of big brother, and the former is torn between loyalty to this new friend and the doubts sown by his father and older friend Pete about Lex's coldness and bad family history. Watching the relationship is fascinating; rather like watching a young Darth Vader for the seeds of what we know will follow.

If you haven't found this series of books yet, they make entertaining reading for Superman and/or Smallville fans, as we watch Clark develop his complicated feelings for Lex, Lana and journalism, and repeatedly save the day from meteor weirdness.

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