“DC Universe: Trail of Time” by Jeff Mariotte

“DC Universe: Trail of Time”
by Jeff Mariotte
Multicast performance
Produced by GraphicAudio
Approx 6 hours

Time travel, DC’s “lesser” heroes plus Superman, dual Earths, magic and Sorcery, demons, Apache, and King Arthur, could they fit any more into this story?  The answer is, probably, but holy cow what an adventure this book carries.  Even better is that GraphicAudio has taken this novel and worked their magic to create yet another “Movie in Your Mind.”

GraphicAudio always does wonders when producing audiobooks.  The excellent voice actors, surreal sound effects and perfect incidental music all combine to make what they promise to be that “Movie in Your Mind.”  The actors that carry out the tasks of voicing the villains and heroes not only capture the emotion of the character, but GraphicAudio’s actors seem to also be able to encapsulate the entire being of the history of the character.   In this novel, the actor voicing Clark Kent and Superman seems to be able to vocalize the square jaw, red and blue costume, complete hero.  And the sound effects, WOW!  How would you make the sound of a demon splitting the skin of a child, as in when a cicada sheds its shell?  Creepy yeah, but GraphicAudio can do it…and a whole lot more.

Anyway let’s talk about the story.  At first I thought I was going into yet another DC universe “Crisis” title, in which there are multiple universes and the heroes have to keep them from colliding or being destroyed, but, this is just a story of magic and only two Earths.  Yeah, right JUST magic and two Earths, hey it is an adventure but not on the “Crisis” level.   In fact Superman makes a reference to the “Crisis” books/storylines when told of the two Earths.  This story however is about how 3 sorcerers, Vandal Savage, Felix Faust, and Dark Lord Mordru have teamed up to create an alternate Earth which they will rule over.  This is big magic and starts back in the time of King Arthur and Camelot, but now the magic is coming to fruition and the new Earth (which has a red sun) is not a pleasant place.  Clark Kent is a resident of the new Earth, but since it has a red sun he does not have the super powers therefore Superman does not exist.   The citizens of the new Earth do not have any personal freedoms and as she is trying to expose the corrupt government Clark’s wife Lois Lane is killed.  In order to right this wrong Clark is recruited by The Phantom Savage and Jason Blood (who is the host for the demon, Etrigan).

The journey to the real Earth first begins with a trip through Hell.  Clark is powerless at first but as he comes closer to the Earth with the yellow sun his memories of being Superman as well as his powers come back, or merge or something like that (it’s hard to keep up w/ alternate realities, sometimes).  Once back on the real Earth the three heroes begin traveling through time to find the time when the sorcerers are finalizing the last magic to finish the long term spell.  The only clue they have to go on is that the spell requires ritual sacrifice on a holocaust level.  The revisit all times in Earth’s history in which millions of people were killed, from the plague to the days of the Mongol hordes invading lands and beyond.   Some of the times they arrive in they find a trap laid by the sorcerers, meaning they are drawing nearer.

In what seems to be a side story, from back in the old west of America, Jonah Hex, El Diablo, Johnny Thunder, Bat Lash and Scalphunter seem to be drawn together for some reason.  After a bar Brawl, Jonah is thrown into jail.  The others bust him out and realize they have been brought together for some reason and set out to find that reason.  When they arrive at a canyon guarded by illusions and magicks, they realize that the reason must be pretty big.  About this time Superman, Phantom Stranger and Jason Blood arrive on the scene.  Inside the canyon are thousands of Apache held hostage for the sacrifice the Sorcerers need.   All combining forces the heroes begin to wear down all the defenses and try to stop the new Earth from being formed.

Heroes, the old west, time travel and evil villains, all this combines to make one tasty story from the DC comics universe, and thanks to GraphicAudio this book comes to life in audiobook form.