Enemies & Allies

Written by: Kevin J. Anderson

Published By: Harper

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            I had read several books by Kevin J. Anderson before he ventured into writing about the tried and true superheroes from the world of DC Comics.  His first DC Comics novel, The Last Days of Krypton, was so enjoyable, that I couldnít wait for him to write another novel set in this universe.  I didnít have to wait long.  Andersonís next DC Comics-based novel would feature two of the comic book franchiseís greatest heroes.  Enemies & Allies chronicles how Superman and Batman became allies.

            Enemies & Allies is set during the Cold War.  The tension between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is on the rise.  Communism is a dirty word among Americans.  It is during this time that two heroes begin plying their trade in their respective cities.  Bruce Wayne is a fun-loving millionaire by day and a crime fighting vigilante by night in Gotham, while Clark Kent is a bungling Daily Planet reporter whose side job sees him flying over Metropolis and coming to the rescue with his super speed, strength and various other powers.  While the two heroes may seem to have similar goals, both secretly wonder about the otherís motives and abilities.

            Meanwhile, Lex Luthor, the evil genius entrepreneur, is hatching a plan to heighten the Cold War between the US and the USSR, thus increasing the amount of military contracts his company will receive and making him billions.  He and a USSR associate hatch a plan in which Soviet missiles are launched toward the United States and Lex Luthor comes to the rescue with new technology that will knock the missiles out of the sky.  When something goes terribly wrong, itís Superman to the rescue. 

            When both Superman and Batman decide to investigate the mysterious missile launching and a sudden appearance of an unidentified flying object, the two find themselves at odds.  Superman believes Batman to be a criminal thanks to his vigilante tactics and the Gotham Police Department propaganda.  Batman believes Superman to be a Lex Luthor creation and therefore a criminal.  Can the two find some sort of common ground, coming together in time to solve the unexplained worldwide criminal activity perpetrated by Lex Luthor and save both countries from potential disaster?

            Although Kevin J. Anderson skews world history a bit to make this novel work, the story is so good, you have to forgive the little tweaks here and there.  I actually loved the little added bits of real history added to the comic book storyline.  It leant the story an air of realty that most comic books simply donít have.  I also enjoyed the way Anderson focused on each character individually, offering us insight into the minds of Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor and even Lois Lane.  This is a special attribute of comic book novelizations that gives the characters more substance.  Sometimes it works and sometimes itís too much and screws with the continuity of the comic book storyline, but in this case, it was icing on the cake. 

            I also enjoyed the way the two heroes were suspicious of one anotherís motives until they got to know one another.  And Andersonís ability to immerse himself into the characters of the DC Universe is amazing.  He captured Batmanís detective qualities and  Supermanís humble nobility perfectly.  Lex Luthorís evil mindset has never been written better.  The insights into Loisí determined nature and her feelings for Superman are invaluable.  Even the minor roles such as Alfred Pennyworth, Martha Kent and Jimmy Olsen were perfectly represented.

            The small revelations were also great, like how Superman learned of his weakness when it comes to Kryptonite, how Kryptonite came to exist on Earth in the first place, Lex Luthorís specially armored suits and more.

            Kevin J. Anderson has more than proven himself as a talented writer, having written several original fiction tales and assimilating himself into the worlds of Star Wars, Dune, X-Files and more.  Thus far, his DC Comics-based novels have been terrific.  Enemies & Allies is a quick and exciting read that fits perfectly with the continuity of the comic book series of both characters.  I canít wait to read more books set in the DC Universe by Kevin J. Anderson.  Keep Ďem coming!


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