This novel answers that nagging question: What would happen if Superman and Batman met? Set in the Cold War fifties, Enemies and Allies places the two ultimate superheroes in the context of the times. Also making appearances are Lex Luthor, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Alfred Pennyworth and, of course, Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. Superheroes squared; now in mass-market paperback.
Anderson's latest is a hokey, contrived imagining of the first meeting between Batman and Superman, set during the thick of the cold war and hobbled by flat characters and flatter dialogue ("My source was murdered shortly after she spoke with me. That tells me that Luthor must not have wanted her talking"). The two superheroes are initially introduced when Clark Kent interviews Bruce Wayne for a feature in the Daily Planet, and their alter egos cross paths again as Batman and Superman are drawn into Lex Luthor's dastardly scheme for world domination. (It involves the Soviets and "Death-ray transmitters.") To stop it, Batman and Superman embark on a ludicrous globe-trotting mission that's equal parts camp and Forrest Gump. A schlocky mediocrity for die-hard fans only. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Anderson, best known for his Dune prequels and several other DC superhero novels (The Last Days of Krypton), shows readers what might happen were millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne and small-town newspaper reporter Clark Kent to meet in the midst of the Red Scare 1950s-as both their secret identities and their superhero selves. Wayne comes off as a James Bond clone and Kent as an aw-shucks country boy, which, while mildly true about the alter egos of two of the most famous superheroes in the history of comics, does not begin to give them the depth they deserve. The settings (both Superman's Metropolis and Batman's Gotham City) are well done, and Anderson conveys the imposing feel of the Soviet presence. Still, Anderson's vision of cooperating heroes lacks punch, and when faced with a novel instead of graphics, readers may find that some of the fun has been lost. For DC fans only, though you know that this book will be pushed. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/09; library marketing.]
Caped Crusader meets Man of Steel in the early 1950s. Anderson (Paul of Dune, 2008, etc.) returns to the fertile playing field of comic-book heroes with an action-packed follow-up to The Last Days of Krypton (2007). In a story seemingly inspired by DC Comics' Elseworlds imprint, Batman and Superman first encounter each other in the tense early days of the Cold War, when communists and aliens seem equally threatening. Superman works in disguise as reporter Clark Kent at The Daily Planet while trying to come to terms with his new role as Earth's protector. In Gotham City, millionaire industrialist Bruce Wayne fosters a playboy image-cribbed, he claims, from Ian Fleming's new James Bond novels. As Batman, Wayne is highly suspicious of Superman and wonders what secrets are behind his mind-boggling powers. What draws them together is a sinister plot by Lex Luthor, who conspires with Russian general Anatoly Ceridov to launch an international nuclear conflict that will allow Luthor's corporation to sell his atmospheric-defense system to the Feds, integrating the evil genius' company into the burgeoning military-industrial complex. Anderson spins a rousing superhero epic that doesn't retread the heroes' origins, but instead cleverly uses its generational iconography, integrating Sputnik, Wernher Von Braun and Area 51 into the globetrotting plot, to say nothing of Luthor's death rays, chunks of Kryptonite and alien spacecraft. The book also makes good use of Lois Lane, Alfred Pennyworth, Jimmy Olsen and other supporting cast members. Positioning all the superpowered heroics squarely between the era's futuristic optimism and postwar paranoia, this is a refreshing diversion from the grimness of TheDark Knight or the tedious Superman Returns. Injects a welcome dose of retro exuberance into the capes-and-tights routine. Author appearances in Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, National Comic-Cons
Los Angeles Times
“The X-Files is a true masterpiece. There’s no more challenging series on television, and as a bonus, it’s also brainy fun.”
“Anderson keeps us guessing throughout with cleverplot twists and some intriguing alternate cold war history.”