Batman: The Stone King

Batman: The Stone King

4.2 5
by Alan Grant, Mark Schultz

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Superman. Batman. Wonder Woman. The Flash. Green Lantern.

They are the world's greatest super heroes, fighting endlessly against corruption and injustice. Each of them alone is a formidable opponent of evil, but banded together their powers are unmatched. Ever ready, they stand united as the --


Something has been unearthed in

…  See more details below


Superman. Batman. Wonder Woman. The Flash. Green Lantern.

They are the world's greatest super heroes, fighting endlessly against corruption and injustice. Each of them alone is a formidable opponent of evil, but banded together their powers are unmatched. Ever ready, they stand united as the --


Something has been unearthed in Gotham City, something that should not have been disturbed. An ancient pyramid has unleashed supernatural energies throughout the world. Drawn to the eye of this arcane storm, the heroes of the JLA become caught in the grip of a force far beyond their extraordinary powers. Only Gotham's protector, the Batman, manages to escape -- but to free his allies and stop the chaos that is fast engulfing the world, the Dark Knight must somehow unlock the pyramid's secret curse.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

When an ancient pyramid is discovered just outside Gotham City, Batman and the Justice League must battle with the deadly and powerful Stone King, an ancient shaman empowered by the Earth's natural energy. With all but Batman and the Martian Manhunter captured, the two must save the Justice League and the world before the Stone King unleashes all of his power. Though a typical Justice League story, this reimagined audio performance includes some exciting battle scenes and character dynamics, despite the crux of the story resting on Batman. Voices for all the major superheroes are reprised from previous Graphic Audio productions of DC Comics material. Listeners can expect the same high-octane production that Graphic Audio has come to be known for yet, in the end, feel a bit empty without any sense of character development and sophisticated catharsis. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Graphic Audio produces full-cast dramatizations replete with sound effects and musical scores. In this, the first of Grant's two comics-based novels (the second being Last Sons ), Batman and the heroes of the Justice League are spurred into action when an ancient pyramid unleashes a torrent of supernatural energies. The reading by AudieA Award winner Richard Rohan, who previously narrated the New York Times best-selling Atkins for Life , resounds with the kind of deep-voiced import usually reserved for action-adventure movie trailers. Though the near-constant jangling sound effects can be a bit much, the overall listening experience is, as the publisher promises, cinematic. Recommended where comics and graphic novels do well. [Audio clip available through]-Raya Kuzyk, Library Journal

Product Details

Pocket Books
Publication date:
Justice League of America Series, #1
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: The Mysterious Pyramid

Gotham County, September 23

"This is Anneka Marram, for GCTV, reporting live from the Gotham County Dam, where a disaster of unparalleled proportions is fast becoming reality!"

The television station's news helicopter circled in the evening air, as Chuck Gaines, the pilot, brought it another fifty feet closer to the top of the massive dam that lay below them.

Inside, the ride was remarkably smooth. Gaines was an Air Force veteran and had been piloting choppers for twenty-five years. He liked to keep his passengers happy.

Flicking a twist of her curly, honey-colored hair from her face, Anneka Marram craned to get a better view from the chopper's open observation window.

From their vantage point a hundred yards up, she could see the large crack that zigzagged down the concrete wall of the dam. Jets of water spurted through in a half dozen places, each one blasting a spray of fine debris out into the air with it. Surely it couldn't hold much longer. Two billion cubic yards of water were putting that crack under intolerable stress.

Anneka shook her head slightly, as if unwilling to entertain the thought of what might happen next. She leaned across the chopper's cramped cabin and touched Les Dowd, her cameraman, on the shoulder. He nodded without looking and started to pan his lens across the top of the dam.

Countless police cars and fire engines were parked at each end, looking like little more than toys from this height. Human figures stood in clusters close to the vehicles, monitoring the water that poured more forcibly from the dam's damaged area with every passing minute.

The mayor was at the scene, taking personal charge of the emergency. Commissioner James Gordon of the GCPD was on hand as well. There was little they could do but wait. All staff had already been evacuated. The relief sluices had been opened, carrying roaring torrents of water away from the eight-mile long lake that had been formed when the dam first closed off this stretch of the Gotham River.

But everyone who stood there -- police officers, public officials, dam and hydroelectric personnel -- all knew that it was futile. It might take an hour, it might be only a minute -- but the dam was going to burst.

Dowd slowly raked his lens down the face of the massive concrete structure. On her monitor, Anneka saw the picture shift to follow the course of what had once been the mighty Gotham River. Its raging waters had flowed here for millennia, carving out a steep-sided gorge that was fifty feet deep and double that across. Now the river was little more than a stream meandering away from the dam, dwarfed by the bluffs on either side.

A quarter-mile downstream Anneka could see the hydroelectric station. A dozen figures straggled away from it, making for the high ground above the steep banks, abandoning the installation completely.

Anneka lifted her microphone closer to her lips to blot out the steady thrum of the rotors and began to speak: "The generating station is in the process of being evacuated now, and I'm informed by dam management that all personnel have been accounted for."

She paused as her monitor showed Dowd's camera panning down the valley toward distant Gotham City. "An estimated twenty thousand people live between the dam and the city. And although the authorities are doing their best to evacuate those at risk, there are serious fears that there are just too many people, and not enough time."

Pausing again, Anneka twisted her head to look back at the dam through the opposite window. The sun was starting to sink, casting a purple autumn glow over the wooded hills. But there was light enough for Anneka to see that the main crack had doubled in size, and several new, smaller ones in a spiderweb network were already gushing water.

A never-ending flood would wash away dozens of farms and thousands of acres of fertile soil as it swept down to the ocean. Anneka shuddered to think what would happen when that wall of water and mud roared into Gotham City itself.

It's only a question of time, she thought, and, perversely, a surge of excitement coursed through her. She'd been junior reporter on the GCTV chopper for almost six years now, spending her life describing traffic jams and highway accidents. They'd been on their way to a three-vehicle pileup on the interstate this afternoon when the emergency call came in about the dam. Now she was reporting real news. And the station would be relaying her report not just across the state, but to the whole country. She'd be seen by a hundred million viewers. A billion, if it went global.

It might be a black day for Gotham City, but Anneka's career was going to skyrocket.

Anneka switched her mike off. "How does this sound, Les?" she asked the lensman. "We go down, hover in front of the dam for some close-up shots of those water jets. Then back up to five hundred feet, wait for the final collapse...and follow the wall of water all the way down the valley till it hits the city."

"Good thinking." The lanky cameraman nodded. Straight out of journalism school, he'd been with the station only a few months. But if they caught this on film, it would be Hollywood calling. "We better move it, though. Be dark in another half hour."

"Can we do it, Chuck?" Anneka called to the gruff, middle-aged pilot.

He shrugged his shoulders without turning to look at her. "Strap in tight," he rasped, his voice hoarse from a lifetime of cigarette smoking. "We're goin' for the money shot!"

Chuck hit the controls and the chopper banked steeply, turning back toward the dam, dropping as it approached. Fifty feet from the valley floor, just level with the top of the banks, Chuck leveled out, hovering directly in front of the massive, cracking wall.

Les's camera raked up the face of the dam, visible only through the thick curtain of water cascading from above.

Anneka felt another frisson of fear. Gazing up at the rends in the dam, she could almost feel the relentless pressure of countless tons of water that was fighting to escape its confinement.

She switched her mike back on. "From above," she began, "the debris that the torrents are tearing free looked small and insignificant. From this vantage point, however, we can see chunks of concrete the size of cars! I'm no engineer, but I really don't see any way the dam can hold much longer."

Somewhere above them the water tore a new hole in the dam face, sending out a gusher that reached almost to the hovering chopper before it fell away. Lumps of concrete and infill clattered off the fuselage.

"Goin' up," Chuck Gaines mouthed, pointing upward with one forefinger. Twenty-five years as a pilot had thrown him into a whole host of dangerous situations, from blizzards to ice storms to rescues at sea. A bursting dam was a new one for him -- and not one he chose to stay close to for too long. The helicopter started to rise.

Fifty feet above, a section of dam the size of an SUV erupted under the force of the water behind. A fountain of broiling, muddy water shot out with all the power of a huge geyser. Almost instantly, the chopper was assailed by cascading water and concrete blocks. It pitched wildly from side to side as Chuck Gaines struggled for control, throwing Anneka and Les violently around the interior.

The cameraman's head hit an area of unpadded airframe, and he blanked out immediately. Anneka screamed, clinging onto her safety strap so tightly her knuckles were white.

"I can't hold her!" Chuck cried out, his voice barely audible over the chaos of the water. "Hang on! I'll try -- "

He never finished the sentence. A rain of concrete chunks thudded into them from above. The windshield shattered, and there was a loud metallic shriek as one of the rotors snapped under the bombardment. The chopper pitched forward and started to plunge toward the growing maelstrom below.

Buffeted by the water pouring in, hardly able to breathe, Anneka Marram struggled in vain to undo the catch on the chopper door. The acrid smell of shorting electrical wiring stung her nostrils. Silently, she kissed her big break farewell. A hundred million people might well see her on the evening news that night, but it would be as a statistic on a long list of fatalities.

Abruptly, her panic ebbed away, and a strange sense of calm suffused her. Almost matter-of-factly, she contemplated her impending death.

But what, she wondered, was that red and blue blur streaking through the air?

Powering through the skies at more than a hundred miles an hour, Superman saw a flash as the setting sun reflected off the helicopter's fuselage. Instantly, his telescopic vision zoomed in on the plunging craft, revealing the three people inside.

Shifting the direction of his flight, he increased his speed until he was bulleting down toward the foot of the dam face. A two-hundred-pound concrete block struck him on the back, the debris splintering as it ricocheted off his near-invulnerable body.

At the last second Superman checked his forward motion, angling his body upward so he was directly under the tumbling helicopter. Ignoring the water and rubble that poured down around him, he reached up with both hands and braced himself to take the doomed chopper's weight.

Superman has the helicopter. J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, watched from the riverbank as he relayed the telepathic message directly to the minds of the other Justice League members who were present. Telepathy was part of his Martian birthright, and now Manhunter used his amazing mental ability to coordinate and keep the team in touch while in action. He's carrying it to safety now.

The Justice League -- the elite team of the Earth's mightiest super heroes -- had been formed with the protection of the planet in mind. They sprang into action like a well-oiled machine whenever any disaster or superhuman villain was too much for one hero to handle alone.

Six of them had been in the Watchtower, their lunar headquarters, when the crisis broke. A message from the mysterious Oracle, who ran their vast computer network from her HQ in Gotham City, had filled their monitor screens. They hadn't needed Batman, Gotham's grim guardian, to urge them to teleport to the scene at once.

Now, perched atop a rocky crag overlooking the entire dam front, silhouetted against the September sky like some twilight demon, Batman took control.

He didn't particularly like using the telepathic link Manhunter established between the team members. A lifelong loner, Batman preferred to act with only one voice in his head: his own. But even he had to admit that the facility often came in useful.

Complete collapse could come at any second. Green Lantern, use your power ring to keep the dam standing. The thoughts blasted from Batman's mind with the speed and accuracy of bullets. Manhunter, get those people on the dam edge to safety. Flash, go down the valley. Use your superspeed and warn everyone you can.

Flash and Manhunter didn't pause to speak. One took to the air, the other started running, and both veered away to accomplish their tasks.

Protected by the force field generated by his power ring, Green Lantern hovered before the dam. With every second that passed, more of the concrete was disintegrating, allowing a deluge of water to escape. Lantern's right arm extended, the ring on his middle finger suddenly flaring bright green as he focused his willpower through it.

Instantaneously, a thin green beam emanated from the center of the ring, widening dramatically as it traveled toward the collapsing dam. It grew until it covered the entire dam face, shutting off the water spouts, holding back the collapsing concrete like a wall of shimmering, impenetrable green energy.

Green Lantern smiled wryly to himself. The ring had been the gift of an alien, the very last Guardian of the Universe. Kyle Rayner had never wanted to be a hero, never expected to be one -- and would have run a mile if anyone had told him otherwise. But now he was a hero -- and not just any hero, either. He was the Emerald Warrior, one of the most powerful super heroes of them all. The ring acted directly to achieve anything he willed. Kyle was sure it must have limitations, but he hadn't discovered them yet.

Gotta admit, Lantern thought, taking care to keep the sentiment to himself, it's a kick I wouldn't change for the world.

Superman deposited the chopper up on the lakeside, well away from the dam, staying only long enough to check that the occupants were safe before flying back to join his companions. Wonder Woman and I will go in behind the energy wall. His thoughts came through loud and clear to all of them. We'll use high-speed friction and my heat vision to fuse the dam face.

No! Batman's thought stabbed almost painfully into their minds. We can't save the dam. Use your speed and strength to gouge out a channel deep enough to take the water all the way to Gotham harbor.

Are you sure that's best? Superman queried.

Positive, Batman thought curtly. Whatever we do, that dam is coming down -- and time is running out.

Batman blanked off his mind, shutting out any further protest Superman might make.

Of all the dozens of members of the Justice League, from the underwater monarch Aquaman to the mighty Steel, Batman was the least natural team player. His years of service as Gotham City's Dark Knight had turned him into the perfect lone hero. But often, in a team situation, he came across as arrogant and high-handed -- especially when he insisted things be done exactly as he wanted, not caring if it rubbed his teammates the wrong way.

J'onn J'onzz glided down to join Batman on his crag, the red and green of the Martian's costume glinting in the fading sunlight. The whole dam had been cleared; Jim Gordon and the others now stood a good hundred yards back from any danger.

The two heroes watched in silence as Wonder Woman and Superman began their colossal task. Operating at superspeed, their movement so fast it was only a blur, they ripped into the valley bottom below the dam with their bare hands. Both possessed superstrength and invulnerability; their hands were superior to any tool.

Within seconds, the first fifty yards of a wide channel, thirty feet deep, had been scoured out, leaving massive piles of infill on the channel sides. It was like watching a videotape in fast-forward, the duo working at such a rate that only the constantly growing levees were evidence of their presence.

And all the while, Green Lantern fixed his willpower on the dam, vibrant green energy pouring from his ring to hold back the waters of the man-made lake.

At last, Manhunter spoke. "How do you know we cannot save the dam?"

"Trust me," Batman replied, glad that his colleague was using speech instead of telepathy. Though he would never admit it to the others, hearing their voices inside his head always unsettled him, made him feel as if his mind was being probed -- despite knowing that Manhunter would never do such a thing. "I've done the research."

They had a lot in common, these two, not least the fact that both their backgrounds were shrouded in grief and pain. As an eight-year-old child, Bruce Wayne had watched his parents mercilessly gunned down before his horrified eyes. That traumatic event had changed his life forever, eventually leading him to don the costume and mask of Gotham's most feared crime fighter.

Similarly, J'onn J'onzz had watched helplessly as his entire society died. An ancient way of life that had lasted for millennia on the Red Planet had sunk into terminal decay and decline. Nothing -- and no one -- had survived except him. Like Batman, the pain of what he had lost would be locked in his heart forever.

Manhunter threw his companion a sidelong glance. "We all know you are not in the habit of making mistakes," he acknowledged. "But sometimes, we would appreciate being taken more fully into your confidence. After all, the Justice League is a team."

Batman nodded slightly to signify he understood. Having worked alone for so long, it was easy to forget how sensitive teamwork could be.

Evacuation complete! They heard the thought an instant before they saw the red streak that told them the Flash was returning from his duties.

Wally West had been doused in a mysterious chemical formula that changed the entire molecular structure of his body, giving him the ability to move thousands of times faster than normal. Only he could have covered the dozens of square miles in the valley in little more than minutes.

I even had time to move all the livestock! The very air seemed to ripple as Flash slowed from superspeed to zero, drawing to a halt alongside the duo on the crag.

"Don't stop now," Batman told him, though his eyes never lifted from Green Lantern. "Check that the hydroelectric plant employees are all clear. There's a complex of tunnels and offices under the turbine rooms -- might still be people in there."

Flash was gone as silently as he'd arrived.

Manhunter threw Batman a quizzical glance. "How do you know -- "

"I memorized the plans when the dam was built. You never know when information will be useful."

The Martian nodded to himself. He should have known, really. Batman was a perfectionist. He never left anything to chance. In his business, with no superpowers to protect him, Batman was in constant danger in a way few of the other Leaguers ever were. Superman might have been vulnerable to the cosmic mineral kryptonite, and Manhunter was weakened by fire, but they didn't encounter those dangers very often. Batman walked with death at his shoulder every night of his life. For this reason alone, J'onn wouldn't have been surprised if Batman had committed to memory the ground plans for every building in Gotham.

"I will assist Flash," J'onn stated, and soared away from the crag.

Even across the distance that separated them, Batman could see the growing strain on Green Lantern's face. His alien ring seemed to possess almost infinite power, but the application of that power depended entirely on the will of the ring wearer. Lantern was holding back an unbelievable volume of water, and the effort was beginning to take its toll.

Batman slipped open a pouch on his Utility Belt and pulled out a pair of miniature binoculars. Taking his eyes off Green Lantern for the first time, he trained the 50X binoculars down the valley, tracking the massive spoil-pile that marked out Superman and Wonder Woman's progress. They had almost reached the outskirts of the city, a feat of power akin to building the Great Wall of China in a morning.

Marveling at the sheer strength that allowed them to excavate this engineering wonder with their bare hands, Batman snapped the binoculars shut and replaced them in their pouch. These beings can shift planets in their orbit, he'd thought more than once in his many years as a League member. What am I doing working with them?

Manhunter and the Flash reappeared silently by his side. The site was clear. It was time.

This is it, Lantern, Batman thought. Let the dam go!

The energy field faded and vanished, and Green Lantern shot high into the air under the power of his ring.

For an endless second, nothing happened. No water spouted from the holes. The cracks in the dam face seemed frozen, checked in their relentless expansion.

Then, with a roar like some maddened behemoth, the waters broke free. There was a thunderous snap, like a giant whip cracking, and, almost in slow motion, the whole dam face crumbled into little more than a sandpile.

A mighty cataract of seething, roiling water poured from the collapsing dam, carrying thousands of tons of concrete with it. A wall of water fifty feet high swept into the craggy valley side, gouging out a half-mile section. The wave crashed over the hydroelectric plant with the intensity of a tsunami, smashing down walls and buildings as if they were toy bricks.

As Batman had realized, there was no way the tailrace and riverbed could cope with the sudden inundation. The angry waters churned as they plunged into the channel dug by Wonder Woman and Superman, spilling over the sides in massive waves, scouring away the earth and soil of the valley sides, ripping out century-old trees, carrying away rocks as big as houses.

But the channel held, funneling the waters until a ten-foot-high wave raced down it at almost a hundred miles an hour.

Minutes later, Superman and Wonder Woman hovered in the air over the city harbor, watching as the waters of Lake Gotham swept through and plunged headlong into the sea. If any ships were put in danger, they wanted to be on hand.

"Excellent." Wonder Woman nodded her satisfaction. The setting sun glinted off her tiara and the amulets she wore on her wrists, making her look every inch the Amazon Princess that she was. "There's no damage caused except the digging of the channel itself, and we can fill that in once the waters recede."

She soared higher in the air, beckoning for Superman to follow. "Let's join the others."

Seconds later, they stood with their companions on the crag, looking down on the scene of destruction. More than half the dam had disappeared, carried off by the raging flow. The surging waters had settled slightly, but it would take days for the man-made lake to drain off completely.

"So...why wouldn't you let us fuse the dam?" Superman asked Batman.

"There were suspicions when the dam was built," Batman told them all. "Substandard materials. For every rip you fused, a dozen others would have opened."

Batman turned away, then thought better of it as he recollected J'onn J'onzz's subtle reminder that they were a team. "I wasn't withholding information from anyone," the vigilante continued. "There just wasn't time to explain. All in all, we did a good job."

"Maybe better than you think," the Flash grinned. "We might even be rewarded for services to archaeology. Look down there -- "

He pointed to the valley side just below the dam, where the broiling water had swept away thousands of tons of soil and vegetation.

Revealed there, in the last bright rays of the setting sun, stood a hundred-foot-tall truncated stone pyramid. It seemed out of place -- so alien and enigmatic. Shafts of mellow purple light played for a moment across its stonework. Then the sun was gone, and the pyramid remained shrouded in darkness.

Copyright © 2002 by DC Comics.

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Batman: Anarky 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Truly Amazing. All the big screen action in a book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Batman is a very well written book. The book draws you in and intenses your intrest. The book is written by Alan grant who is among one of the greatest DC comics writters anything he writes is sure to be golden. I would recomend this book to any super hero story reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 2 two days I'm not a normal reader either..It was a book I couldn't put down for more than 5mins..Can't wait till Justice League--Wonder Woman:Mythos is released..I hope the do a book for each of the rest of the League too..Dealing with the Flash,Green Lantern,Superman and Martian Manhunter..
Guest More than 1 year ago
Admittedly this sort of book is my last choice for a read. Growing up I never read comic books other than those about Batman, except for a few about Archie. As a kid, and still as an adult, I gravitated to Batman because he is a superhero completely reliant on his self-developed, human physical and intellectual abilities, unlike other super-heroes, now called muttants. What caught my eye initially, I believe, it was the cover art of Batman. With that was the title of book, The Stone King, that stimulated me to open the book. By that fascination I opened the book (shelved at a local Barnes & Noble) and turned to the chapter where Batman seeks help from Scarecrow, held in a prison-asylum (into which Batman stealthily sneaks in his making the visit). On the page to which I turned is a great line of Scarecrow's: 'There's always fallout when a repressed society tries to smother the creativity of its true individuals.' That passage, in and of itself, reveals something of the character of the supervillian, who has a lesser a role in the story than one product of his ingenuity, which Batman uses in his quest to vanquish a super-natural villian. But that I found out later, at home, after I bought the book. In the narrative there really are few surprises arising from the story. It's not a matter of if Batman will overcome the overwhelming odds but rather how he conquers the super-natural forces that holds the reader in some suspense, if the reader enjoys comic-book style of story telling. Mr. Grant's language is visual, at times graphic, propped up by muscular verbs and expressive adjectives. Reading the book is like sucking on hard-candy. The mind senses the flavor of the words while brain savors the sentences, but once the text has dissolved, barely a memory of the story's presence remains. Hence, either one dislikes the read and never ingests another Batman novel, or one enjoys the titillation and reaches for another piece of super-hero mind-candy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Actually it's both. Some episodes feature Batman by himself and some feature the entire Justice League. It's a challenging writing assignment, but Alan Grant pulled it off well. I hope he writes more adult super-hero novels. My favorite episodes were Batman's interactions with the Scarecrow and the Martian Manhunter.