Thursday, April 21, 2011

"The Last Days of Krypton" by Kevin J. Anderson

"The Last Days of Krypton"
by Kevin J. Anderson
Read by William Dufris
Produced by Tantor Media, 2007
Approx 15.5 hours

I have only recently become a fan of DC comics, "Make Mine Marvel" was my slogan, but after tackling audiobook novelizations of DC heroes I've received a more in depth knowledge of what makes up the DC Universe. The only problem is that after almost a century of heroes it's hard to keep continuity. There have been many stories, for example, told of the destruction of Superman's home planet, Krypton. Did the sun go supernova, did something strike the planet,did the planet implode? An answer to each of these questions has appeard as a bit of an explanation throughout the run of Superman comics and if someone were to read all the comics from the beginning they may get a bit confused. There are other questions I've had such as where did Supergirl come from, some versions she's the cousin of Superman other's she's an angel. Well if Krypton was destroyed how did she survive? Remember the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve? How did General Zod and his two assistants come to be trapped in the neutral zone? Then there's Brainiac, what's his story?

Kevin J. Anderson has tried to sum up all these problems and write a history of Kal-el's (Superman's) home planet, Krypton in the days just before the little baby that would become Superman was blasted off toward Earth. Kevin is not a stranger to taking an established piece of work and adding to it, he has teamed up with Brian Herbert, son of Frank Herbert, to add stories to the "Dune" universe of novels. Having read and appreciated the work he has done in that realm I knew this would be a good book. The interesting aspect of this novel is that it is really not a superhero story but rather a piece of science-fiction with some superhero potential added to push the story along. This story not only explores the destruction of Krypton but also reveals the politics of this planet that just wanted to stay alone in the universe.

The reader, William Dufris, did an adequate job of reading the book, but there were times when some of the characters seemed parodies in the vocal changes. It's like Dufris wanted to turn this into a superhero story from with similar vocalizations to the '60s "Batman" tv series. There was no campiness to the writing but some of the dialogue was read that way. But it was not enough to keep me from enjoying the fun sci-fi story from Kevin J. Anderson.

The novel explores how Jor-el (Superman's father) discovers the planet and its sun is dying, and through the xenophobic politics of the elders is constantly sent packing when he is trying to save the planet. Soon alien forces invade some friendly some not so friendly and change the way the council works but it is too late and soon Commissioner Zod takes over and is determined to rule Krypton. In doing so, Zod, sacrifices many lives needlessly and puts the planet at risk, it is up to Jor-el and Zor-el (Jor-el's brother) to save Krypton. Are their efforts to late?

This story is full of adventure, excitement, passion and glory and is a perfect read for comic book and science fiction lovers alike.

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