You would expect this Superman to battle uniquely British foes like Maggie Thatcher's dole-zapping lizard henchmen. But no, Superman is too afraid of making a scene to use his powers.
OK, but surely Colin "Superman" Clark at least faces Anglican challenges like tea shortages or naming his kids something even more English than "Benedict Cumberbatch," right? Wrong again. It's 90 pages of Superman stammering haplessly just to belabor the point that British tabloids are shallow rags. Oh, and the villainous news mogul looks like John Cleese, just in case any flush producers were in the market for an adaptation-ready property with a marquee name attached.
The comedy isn't funny, and if there had been action it would also not be funny. With no supervillains to fight, the queen tasks him with making the trains run on time, speeding up their state health care system, and revamping BBC programming into something interesting -- which seems like an unfair request, considering he can't even do that for a Superman comic.
Truly this was Superman's Career Opportunities.
There's a running gag where the Clarks are so embarrassed by their son drawing attention to himself that they keep moving farther away without telling him. This eats up 10 percent of the book just so it can propagate the myth that Wales is a real place. And no offense to the Welsh, but if your country exists, how come there's no portal to it in the back of my wardrobe?
The book ends with Superman emigrating to America because he's sick of Great Britain -- although his is a biased perspective, since he never needs health care. So after watching him bust his ass for the country he loves, nothing changes, and Superman says, "Sod you all, I'm going someplace easier."
English Superman would have had more dignity chasing Lex Lutheran through a "Yakety Sax"-filled highway.
But I still love you, John Cleese.