Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Novel Idea—The Last Days of Krypton

Superman turns 70 years old next year. Take a moment and wrap your head around that. The Legend of Superman is something that’s known far and wide—from Boise to Beijing—and most people know at least the basics about the Last Son of Krypton.

A strange visitor from a dying planet, Superman was rocketed to Earth as a baby. As he grew, he became faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

The creation of Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, Superman would become shorthand for Truth, Justice and the American Way.

Yet after all these years, not much is known about the Planet Krypton. It’s famous for blowing up shortly delivering its last son to Earth but the story of Krypton itself has always been fertile yet woefully under-explored storytelling territory.

Thinking back, FanBoyWonder can recall only one example where Superman’s homeworld received a serious and in-depth examination—John Byrne’s World of Krypton four-issue mini-series from 1988.

That is about to change as Krypton will live again this fall in the pages of a new novel by Kevin J. Anderson—The Last Days of Krypton.

Here’s the Upshot from HarperCollins: Everyone knows how Kal-El—Superman—was sent to Earth just before his planet exploded. But what led to such a disaster? Now, in The Last Days of Krypton, Kevin J. Anderson presents a sweeping tale of the pomp and grandeur, the intrigue and passion, and the politics and betrayals of a doomed world filled with brave heroes and cruel traitors.

Against the spectacular backdrop of Krypton's waning halcyon days, there is the courtship and marriage of Kal-El's parents, the brilliant scientist Jor-El and his historian wife, Lara. Together they fight to convince a stagnant, disbelieving society that their world is about to end. Jor-El's brother, Zor-El, leader of the fabled Argo City, joins the struggle not only to save the planet but also to fight against
the menace of the ruthless and cunning General Zod.

The diabolical Zod, future archenemy of Superman, avails himself of a golden opportunity to seize power when the android Brainiac captures the capital city of Kandor. As Zod's grip on the populace tightens and his power grows, he too is blind to all the signs that point to the death of the very civilization he is trying to rule.

Through all of this, Jor-El and Lara's love for each other, their history, and their son allows for Krypton to live on even as the planet is torn apart around them. For in the escape of their baby lies Krypton's greatest gift—and Earth's greatest hero.

The Last Days of Krypton is a timeless, ground-breaking exploration of a world that has never been fully defined, and reveals the extraordinary origins of a legend that has never ceased to amaze and astound generation after generation.

The novel has been described as reminiscent of The Last Days of Pompeii in style in that it will tell the story of the lost civilization of Krypton in epic form. It’s worth a look.

The Last Days of Krypton, 432 pages, $25.95. On sale, Oct. 23.


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