The Last Days of Krypton is out in paperback this week from It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. The novel is written by New York Times bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson. Anderson has written 50 national bestsellers and has been nominated for the Nebula Award and the SFX Readers’ Choice Award among many other awards. The story’s cover states “Before there was Superman, there was Krypton.” It’s a story told many times, though many accounts are conflicting. We know how the story ends and we know bits and pieces of the rest. Anderson had quite the job to do to make a story with these parameters something you’d want to read.
The story focuses on, roughly, the last year of Krypton. Our main character is Jor-El. As we know, Jor-El was a brilliant scientist who tried to warn everyone that Krypton was experiencing its final days. Besides Jor-El’s scientific feats, we get to see the story of how he met and fell in love with Lara. The artist and budding historian, Lara, helps open up Jor-El’s eyes to the larger world. She starts to break him out of his shell a little throughout the book as she works with her parents to paint murals at the El estate. The book also balances the story of Jor-El’s brother Zor-El and the city of Kandor. There is also the scheming head of the scientific counsel Zod. All of the characters you know from the comics as well as some new faces that help fill out this world are present and accounted for. All of the big earth shattering revelation Superman has found out about his planet over the years seems to be included and explored.
You could go so far as to call this book the history book of Krypton. Anderson weaves together the comic book accounts of the planet into one rich tapestry. All of the accounts, even the contradictory ones that have popped up over Superman’s long history, are looked at and made a part of the larger story of the dying planet. One can go through and check off all the bullet points for all the big moments in Superman’s history, but the reader also gets a look into the lives of the people Superman lost before he even knew them. Anderson does an impressive job of building a world we’ve never seen in its entirety.
Bottom Line: This could be seen as the definitive book for Krypton’s history. With the world building that takes place and the amount of ground Anderson covers before we get to the ending of this story which we know is only the beginning of another, it can be a bit of a read. Clocking it at over 400 pages, this is one for the big Superman fans. The science fiction works in its own right, but if you’re a big fan of the big blue Boy Scout this is a book you need to pick up.