So in the late 1950’s, a recently debuted epic hero Superman met for the first time a newly minted vigilante Batman. They argue and fight and finally work together and become friends, all in order to save the day.
And to address all those glares from the collective masses who plan to revoke my Geek card, I am of course referring to the alternative history story Enemies and Allies by Kevin J. Anderson. What we get is the following: Superman, Batman, Lois Lane, Lex Luther, The 1950’s. All in over 300 pages designed for full throttled fan excitement.
The story picks up in the late 1950’s with our world’s finest duo having already been operating for abit of time, and each dealing with individual issues both personal, superheroic and professional. Bits and pieces of the nefarious Lex Luther’s evil plot keep dribbling out to Superman and Batman, with neither man figuring out the complete picture. Lois does her plucky best to fill in the puzzle as well, but not once does these three compare notes.
And that is because the animosity our Man of Steel and Dark Knight have for each other is very palpable. Superman believes Batman is a common thief. Batman thinks Superman is in the employ of Luther. Cue fights and arguments.
As their accidental meet-ups continue, a slow understanding, dare we saw quasi-friendship, develops, culminating in the sensational team-up against Luther. All to save the world. None of that is a spoiler by the way, since we all know the whole point of this book, a concept even the title reflects, is how these buddies come to be.
Which is the strength of Enemies and Allies. The book strives to encapsulate the separate heroes philosophies and methods, with multiple conversations, sometimes heated, occurring. So no, we do not get the oft repeated page after page battle between then two that so many other writers use as a crutch of massive proportions. Because when you get right down to it, without Kryptonite, Batman would be Bat Smush in a fight.
Anderson keeps the action moving fairly swiftly after the first confrontation between the two, with particular emphasis on the how of Batman being showcased. And when Superman is being truly super, you can feel the George Reeves vibe most definitely.
In fact, I realized very early on that this story was not just aimed at diehard Geeks of all stripes, but also this would appeal to young non-geek teens who want a dashing adventure story as well. And for those who like period dramas, the history lessons that permeate the story do not hurt either.
Enemies and Allies is a fun, light read which gives us a quick look into the psyches behind the cowl and the glasses. Anderson has a mission and completes it. Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne would approve.
…is currently reading The Brave and the Bold Volume 1 and 2 by Mark Waid, George Perez and Jerry Ordway.
P.S. This post is one of several I hope to do this year to celebrate the 75th Birthday of Superman. Happy Birthday Kal-El! Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
P.P.S. Superman Man Of Steel opened Friday, June 14th 2013. For an indepth look at the creation of this landmark movie, check out Jeffrey Taylor’s columns.