In 1993, Superman returned to television after a long hiatus of one year. Okay, that was Superboy not Superman. And Superboy was in syndication and hard to catch. And even harder to watch.
But seriously, 1993 saw the debut of "Moonlighting for Superman" in the form of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher starred and the show focused on them more than it did Superman.
It saw great success initially and came at the height of the popularity of comic books. The show lasted four years and impacted comic book story lines along the way. The show also spawned a series of YA novels, three paperbacks and one hardback. I was really into this show and I picked up the paperbacks. I have never read any of them...
All three of the books were written by M. J. Friedman who is probably most well-known for writing some Star Trek novels. I think he also wrote some comics book throughout the years, too. The first released of the books was Heat Wave and on the off-chance there was some sort of continuity and on the even offer-chance that I would continue reading them, I decided to start there.
These books are new stories and are not novelizations of episodes as was my first assumption based on the fact there was an episode, "Man of Steel Bars," that dealt with a heat wave in Metropolis. But, really the title has very little to do with the A-plot of this book and just serves to frustrate me by wearing me out as I read it. Despite the promo photography coming from seasons 1 and 2 of the series, this book takes place somewhere in the third season. But I'd like to think it was before Lois butchered cut her hair.
Soooo...the plot. There is a heat wave in Metropolis. A heat wave that the author continually goes into incredible detail trying to explain. It's hot. Lots of sweat. People are tetchy. Things are happening in Metropolis that are made worse by the heat. The heat has nothing to do with anything really. The main story is that there is a movie that's being shot in Metropolis. This movie has seen a series of unfortunate accidents. Perry White sends in his crack team of investigative reporters to go undercover as production assistants on the movie.
Unfortunately, the heat (that isn't caused by a super villain and has no ties to the movie) is causing extra emergencies in Metropolis. Things that need Superman's attention. So Lois winds up having to solve the mystery of the movie production saboteur by herself doing things she could have probably done without being a production assistant on the movie. Things like talking to people and following someone. Clark and Lois get into a bit of a spat and Lois has to be put in her place by her sister, Lucy. This forced drama reminded me that I was reading a YA novel because these types of spats had been addressed in the TV show.
My biggest disappointment is that–it's a novel. Here's a chance to do something more with Superman and the Lois & Clark characters, not less because there is no special effects restriction. A lot of the Superman scenes I skipped by the end because it was just exhausting to read about old people having heat strokes or truck drivers getting mad and that be what Superman was getting in the middle of. In fact, I sided with Lois on her whole spat with Clark (even though it was forced). If Superman was saving Metropolis from mole men or aliens, then I'd see much more merit in his leaving his job.
Based on the descriptions on the back of the books, I will say that books 2 and 3 do look better. In fact, book 3 introduced Professor Killgrave, a character from the comics. Although...I doubt I'll read these anytime soon. Maybe for the next time there's a Superman Week.