Caped Crusader meets Man of Steel in the early 1950s.
Anderson (Paul of Dune, 2008, etc.) returns to the fertile playing field of comic-book heroes with an action-packed follow-up to The Last Days of Krypton (2007). In a story seemingly inspired by DC Comics’ Elseworlds imprint, Batman and Superman first encounter each other in the tense early days of the Cold War, when communists and aliens seem equally threatening. Superman works in disguise as reporter Clark Kent at The Daily Planet while trying to come to terms with his new role as Earth’s protector. In Gotham City, millionaire industrialist Bruce Wayne fosters a playboy image—cribbed, he claims, from Ian Fleming’s new James Bond novels. As Batman, Wayne is highly suspicious of Superman and wonders what secrets are behind his mind-boggling powers. What draws them together is a sinister plot by Lex Luthor, who conspires with Russian general Anatoly Ceridov to launch an international nuclear conflict that will allow Luthor’s corporation to sell his atmospheric-defense system to the Feds, integrating the evil genius’ company into the burgeoning military-industrial complex. Anderson spins a rousing superhero epic that doesn’t retread the heroes’ origins, but instead cleverly uses its generational iconography, integrating Sputnik, Wernher Von Braun and Area 51 into the globetrotting plot, to say nothing of Luthor’s death rays, chunks of Kryptonite and alien spacecraft. The book also makes good use of Lois Lane, Alfred Pennyworth, Jimmy Olsen and other supporting cast members. Positioning all the superpowered heroics squarely between the era’s futuristic optimism and postwar paranoia, this is a refreshing diversion from the grimness of The Dark Knight or the tedious Superman Returns.
<\b>Injects a welcome dose of retro exuberance into the capes-and-tights routine.