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Superman vs. Muhammad Ali
Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams, illustrated by Neal Adams, Dick Giordano & Terry Austin
DC Comics, 72 pages

Superman vs. Muhammad Ali
Dennis O'Neil
Dennis O'Neil was born in 1939 in St. Louis, MO. He is a comic book writer and editor, principally for Marvel Comics and DC Comics in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and the Group Editor for the Batman family of books until his retirement. His best-known works include Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Batman with Neal Adams, The Shadow with Mike Kaluta and The Question with Denys Cowan. Today, he sits on the board of directors of the charity The Hero Initiative.

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A review by Susan Dunman

Two undisputed champions are forced to fight it out when alien invaders demand a title match between Earth's greatest fighters. The winner will face their own champion, a muscle-bound behemoth bio-engineered to pound others into the ground. And the stakes couldn't be higher for this fist-fest -- the fate of planet Earth rests on who is declared the final winner.

Originally released in 1978, this story was published in a special, oversized edition. Illustrated by Neal Adams and co-written with Denny O'Neil, it became an instant classic and it's easy to see why. The colorful artwork is action-packed and instantly grabs your attention, plus the portrayal of Muhammad Ali is a class act all around. In November, 2010, DC Comics released this title again, in its original size in hardcover facsimile and deluxe editions.

When the evil Scrubb threaten to blow up Earth unless Superman and Ali agree to fight, Superman is incredulous that it will even be a contest. But when the alien commander announces that the fight will be held on the Scrubb's home planet, which circles a red sun, Ali proclaims to Superman, "Uh-oh! You in trouble!" Invitations for the match go out to entire galaxies and, as the reader, you get a front row seat to the biggest fight in the universe. One of the most entertaining parts of the publication is the cover -- look closely and you'll recognize some observers in the audience. It is made up of celebrities, Warner Communication Executives, Neal Adams' Continuity Associates, Muhammad Al cornermen, editors, writers, artists, and DC characters.

Each of these is identified in a cover key in the back of the book -- all 172 of them. Some particularly intriguing on-lookers include Joe Namath, Wolfman Jack, Frank Sinatra, Liberace, Johnny Carson, Christopher Reeve, and Lucille Ball.

The plot is inventive and it is a real treat to see how Muhammad Ali and Superman manage to save the day without destroying each other, as they fight against the Scrubb for their own lives and those of an entire planet. Superman vs. Muhammad Al is also a trip back in time and will be especially enjoyed by those who can remember Muhammad Ali standing in the ring, fists raised, and unequivocally proclaim, "I am the greatest!"

Copyright © 2011 Susan Dunman

Susan became a librarian many light years ago and has been reviewing books ever since. Audiobooks and graphic novels have expanded her quest to find the best science fiction in Libraryland.

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