His name may be familiar to some, thanks to all the Star Wars novels he has written, but he’s also written his own works, plus novels set in the world of Dune, and even a few comics. I recently finished his book, The Last Days of Krypton, which is about , well, the last days of Krypton. I was pretty impressed by it. There’s a few things that puzzled me, such as a few grammatical errors and the use of other characters names instead of Non and Ursa. You may remember those characters primarily from the first two Superman films starring Christopher Reeve. Perhaps due to copyright reasons, their names are changed, but their personalities are clearly those of the fesity woman and brute mute. No-one but hardcore Superman fans will notice however, and the replacement names Aethyr and Nam-Ek belong to a pair of characters from earlier episodes of Smallville, taken from the comics from decades ago. However, it’s not a biggie really. General Zod is a manipulating genius who uses fear tactics to get what he wants after Braniac shows up and takes the whole city of Kandor away. The budding romance between respected (for the most part) scientist Jor-El and artist Lara is handled beautifully. The age difference between the pair and the fact that they’re newlyweds before shuttling their baby Kal-El off to Earth seemed somewhat unusual, but only because I’ve never seen them portrayed that way before.
This is a book for Superman fans, or at least those vaguely aware of the character’s origins. Anderson is a good writer, and I felt at times like I wanted to wring the necks of the stuffy Council for ignoring Jor-El’s pleas and ultimately giving rise to Zod’s megalomania. Most of the characters are fully developed, though Anderson has the uncanny need to describe everyones hairstyles. He does take this vague knowledge of Superman’s distant origins and throw in nice cameos such as the Phantom Zone, and Martian Manhunter, and even hints at the Green Lantern Corps. Comics scribe Geoff Johns has taken these concepts and run with them with his Last Son arc and the more recent New World of Krypton maxi-series that has most of these characters appear once more. Plus the cover by Fables cover artist James Jean is grand. If Warner Bros. ever wise up and give writer Mark Millar his dream job of creating a Superman film trilogy, this book would be an awesome opener. There’s no Superman in sight, yet it is a surprising and often riveting sci-fi tale.
You can read my interview with Anderson about his new book, Enemies and Allies here. It’s about the first meeting between Superman and Batman in the 1950s Cold War era. It’s an unusual take, but it has guest stars galore, including the supporting cast and baddies from both heroes worlds.
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