Author: Kevin J Anderson
Publisher: William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0-06-166255-3

Click Here To Purchase Enemies & Allies: A Novel

In Kevin J. Anderson’s newest book, Enemies & Allies, we are given fly on the wall viewing of his version of Superman and Batman’s first meeting. The timeline of this story is set in a version of the late 50’s with the world deep in the clutches of the Cold War .Batman and Superman, though initially unsure where either’s allegiance lays, are brought together by a common foe intent in destruction through mistrust.

Anderson stays true to the mythos of Superman/Clark Kent and Batman/Bruce Wayne’s origins. Clark Kent is imbued with the “stranger from a strange land” wonder of Earth mixed with the stereotypical Midwest God and Country/do unto others values On the flip side is Bruce Wayne, an orphan at a young age who’s independently wealthy thanks to sound forethought of his father, who had cutting edge technology at his disposal coupled with this relentless drive to right the wrong from all those years past.  Lex Luthor, who is the evil to this dual sided good, is still the “evil genius” willing to destroy everything so that his genius will be recognized. Lois Lane, the “plucky” investigative reporter who’s always on the prowl for the next scoop, but tends to get herself in over her head and the wide eyed tag along photographer, Jimmy Olson. And we can’t forget Editor Perry White and his “the news never stops” rally cry. Anderson’s vision remains true to the versions of the players and their cold war incarnations. When you knew who exactly your enemy was, and they were as equally afraid of war as you were.

I think Anderson was able to keep the rosy glean of the 1950’s while still adding a touch of 2001 cynicism to his characters and the story itself. Lois seems to be teetering on that thin line between women in the workplace being something other than a teacher or secretary is a novelty to being an independent in charge of her own life woman. With Superman and Batman’s light/dark view of life, I got the feeling that in some ways Superman wishes Batman would lighten up some and that Batman wishes Superman would realize that the world has it’s ugliness as well as it’s beauty. Once again, a teetering balances between such an expanse of time and mindset.

Because the heart of the story is the foraging of a working relationship between Superman and Batman, in some ways the common ground that pushes them together just doesn’t ring as nuanced. Luthor is secondary and that comes across as such. I would have liked to have seen just a little more facets and have it a stronger triangle dynamic between the good/bad, dark/light in them all.

Click Here To Purchase Enemies & Allies: A Novel