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Monday, September 1, 2008

The Last Days of Krypton - Kevin J. Anderson

Before Superman, there was Smallville...and before Smallville, there was Krypton. While the CW Network has the first precursor covered, Kevin J. Anderson has taken on the task of the second - and has done an excellent job.

Anderson's story follows the father of future Earth dweller Clark Kent (Kryptonian name Kal-El) as he seeks to improve and secure the stability of Krypton and its many cities with his undeniable scientific acumen and clever inventions, most all of which keep getting confiscated and destroyed by the Kryptonian Council and its commissioner, Zod. (Sound familiar, Smallvillians?) But when an friendly alien visitor sends the population into a tizzy - oh, and the city of Kandor gets scooped up and taken away by yet another slightly-more-unwelcome alien visitor - Zod seizes the reigns of power and begins his quest for Kryptonian domination. And while Zod erects statues of himself and basically strokes his ego, Kal-El daddy Jor-El spots an historic meteor that is more likely headed in Krypton's direction, resulting in total chaos and planetary destruction and considerably less time for Zod to brag about his so-called "good intentions".

Confusing? Oh, yeah. But it is equally enthralling, especially when you incorporate the mess of personalities present in the story, like future Zod wife Aethyr and his faithful, silent golem Nam-Ek. The detail is masterful, leaving questions up in the air that the popular television show may consider addressing before series' end. (What was up with Donodon's tentacle beard? And was Zod really that stuck on himself?) It all adds up to an action-packed, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-laser-beams story that'll whet the appetite of any and all sci-fi lovers.

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