Review: Enemies & Allies - Kevin J Anderson

 Title - Enemies & Allies
Author - Kevin J Anderson
Year - 2009
Stand Alone or Series - Stand Alone
Pages - 303
Reading Time - June 2011

This was a surprising book. Superman and Batman were two of my favorite characters of DC Comics and when I saw this book in the store I had to buy it. I didn’t expect much of it but I was surprised… In a good way.

Enemies and Allies is 303 pages divided in 65 chapters each with only a couple of pages. The narration is between Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Superman (Clark Kent & Kal-El). There are also some chapters that the narration fall to Lex Luthor and Lois Lane.

In my humble opinion Superman & Batman were done greatly never leaving what I knew from the comics / movies and while based on comic book readers unfamiliar with the background of Batman and Superman will have no problem following the storyline. Both heroes get their own lights but make no mistake because this is a Superman novel with the help of Batman. But at the same time we have more of Bruce Wayne than Clark Kent (or Kal-El).

This book takes place in 1950 when the Cold War was beginning and the space program was also taking its first steps and both characters were beginning their “careers” as heroes or more correctly Batman as anti-hero. There is plenty of background for someone who doesn’t follow the comics and for me it was splendid. Some other readers who follow both characters will experience boredom because of all the fluff they already know.

The plot is simple but that didn’t take any interest on the book. Luthor, of course, wants to rule the world or be its hero and every action he takes superman and batman are one step ahead. The first half of the book we learn about Superman and it’s alter-ego Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne (Batman). Only at half the book they meet and only in the last couple of chapters they work together in their common enemy.

Throughout the first part Bruce Wayne tries to uncover problems within his own company and Clark Kent in his first steps as a journalist going from a love column to chasing aliens in Nevada and Area 51. At the same time Lois Lane was following is own leads against Luthor. Luthor also get his own chapters and we learn about some of his own ideas and links to a Soviet KGB General. The first attack of Luthor is trying to earn more money with new technology, some of them stolen from Wayne Enterprises, as a defense mechanism against a potential threats. And how did he do it? His allie in the soviet union send some false information to a couple of generals and they send three nuclear warheads  to the USA. With the warheads going and with no possibility  of USA to destroy them Luthor would test his new weapons and save America becoming his new hero instead of Superman and at the same time gaining some contracts with the military. But something goes wrong and Superman saves the world, yet again. As the book wents on Superman tries to uncover more of Soviet plans and it’s drawn to a place where a meteor had fall but unbeknowest to him the meteorite was from his own planet and we all know what Kryptonite does to him right? He was capture by the soviets and branded a spy and weak. With this Luthor sees the opportunity to  unravel his second plan. An fictious alien invasion of spaceships and with no superman in the way he would “save” the world. But Batman who was following some other leads help Superman escape and they travel back to America to save them from the “aliens”. At this point Lois Lane was following his own lead that led to a secret island of Luthor near Cuba. There she communicates with the USA’s army and they send a force to help but Superman arrives early and saves the day. In the end we learn that both Superman and Batman know each other secret identities but swear never to tell anyone.

Excellent tie-in conversion from a comic book to a novel. I know there are some out there in the market but I never read one or know about one. I learn that there are one written by the same writer called The Last Days of Krypton. Maybe I will try acquire it.

Also I found interesting the view both personagens had of each other. There is a chapter were Superman debates with Batman about "How help humankind?". Superman doesn't understand Batman work as a vigilante. Batman explains that Justice is not the same thing as Law. And both things are indepent. Superman on the other hand believes in Law. That's why Superman is a Good Lawful Hero (if this was D&D) and Batman is a Good Chaotic. It was one of the best chapters. 

To whom I advice it?
To anyone who wants a fast novel to read in the train or anyone into comics and want to learn more about the possibility of Batman working alongside Superman. And of course to all Kevin Anderson fans.
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