Enemies Among Us (Hardback)

Author: Mark Verheiden
Artists: Ethan Van Sciver, Matthew Clark, Andy Lanning and others
Titan Books
RRP: £14.99, US $19.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 438 8
ISBN-10: 1 84576 438 2
Available 27 July 2007

When the Caped Crusader is attacked by one of his oldest and most powerful allies, the Martian Manhunter, he seeks the aid of Superman. Soon, Batman and the Man of Steel are being ambushed by various off-worlders - foes and friends alike - including the Green Lantern Kilowog, Starfire and Supergirl. The madness spreads, and the Dark Knight finds himself in danger even from Superman. Batman must take desperate measures and make dangerous deals if he is to defeat his once-trusted Kryptonian friend and save the entire human race...

If just Superman and Batman isn’t enough of a comic-strip get-together for your liking, then this graphic novel (which reprints material originally published in Superman/Batman issues 28-33) could be the book for you. As well as the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel, it also features appearances by the Martian Manhunter, Parasite, three different Green Lanterns and Plastic Man, as well as a plethora of more obscure heroes and villains, including Titano, Dr Phosphorus and Ultra the Multi-Alien!

However, don’t believe some versions of this book’s synopsis that are doing the rounds on press releases and online stores at the moment. For example, on and on the press release we received from Titan Books, I read that: “There’s a new, dynamic duo in town - Power Girl and the Huntress! Together, these mighty heroines must save Superman and Batman when an old villain commits one final act of vengeance... if they can!” This actually describes events from a story in the recent Supergirl graphic novel Candor.

As author Mark Verheiden (Co-Executive Producer of Battlestar Galactica) confesses in his afterword, he has a great love for the crazy, “anything goes” attitude of the Silver Age of comic books (which ran from approximately the late 1950s/early 1960s to the early 1970s), and he has striven to re-create the spirit of that era in this storyline. I would say that he has succeeded in that aim. The return of one pivotal character from days gone by (who shall remain nameless here) will probably take you completely by surprise, despite the presence of the Martian Manhunter...

Talking of continuity, I take back what I said about the Fortress of Solitude in my recent review of Superman and Batman Versus Aliens and Predator. It appears that Superman’s hideaway has indeed been relocated to the Arctic, as is confirmed here by dialogue between Batman and Plastic Man.

Plot development is rather slow to begin with, and then the final episode resolves a huge threat to the entire planet rather summarily. Along the way, though, there’s plenty of fisticuffs action and visual thrills to enjoy. Ethan Van Sciver and his fellow artists certainly don’t skive from their duties as they create some beautiful renderings of the characters and their Metropolis and Gotham City backdrops.

Enemies Among Us is well worth having among your other Superman and Batman books.

Richard McGinlay

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