House of El Book Two: The Enemy Delusion Cranks Up the Suspense

two determined looking young adults stand ready to fight before looming purple structures and an orange sky in this clip from the cover of the house of el book 2

The countdown to the end of Krypton speeds up in House of El Book Two: The Enemy Delusion by Claudia Gray and Eric Zawadzki. In this middle book of the trilogy, all the problems get satisfyingly more pressing.

House of El Book Two: The Enemy Delusion

Deron Bennett (letters), Dee Cunniffe (colors), Claudia Gray (writer), Eric Zawadzki (art)
DC Comics
January 4, 2022

two determined looking young adults stand ready to fight before looming purple structures and an orange sky

With the series titled House of El, one might expect the focus to be on Lara and Jor-El, but in this second installment that is still not the case, with Zahn-Re and Sera-Ur remaining the point of view characters and the overall focus.

In Book Two: The Enemy Delusion, our two protagonists are thrown together as elite Zahn is assigned to watch Sera’s military group work. Meanwhile, General Zod, Jor-El, and Lara try to convince the Tribunes that Krypton’s demise is imminent.

All three characters are arguing to their leaders that the genetic programming of echelons of their society is working against them, making people’s roles too rigid to allow for innovation that would make their people stronger and perhaps even save their planet. They remain in the background, important to Krypton and our protagonists, but not the focus.

The focus on young adults plays to Gray’s and Zawadzki’s strengths, as the romance between protagonists picks up in this volume and the romantic banter many readers might expect from the Young Adult genre intensifies accordingly. At one point heading into peril, Sera says to Zahn, “let’s live long enough to kiss again.” That’s a good line, and I appreciate it.

As I noted in my review of the first volume of House of El, the dystopian elements are familiar, and Gray and Zawadzki and their team employ them well to place engaging characters whose futures are uncertain against a backdrop of a deteriorating world.

Zahn gets sucked more deeply into the “terrorist” organization Midnight, which has historically been concerned with uplifting lower social castes to better opportunities and is now desperately trying to get elites to recognize Krypton itself is in peril. Because they live on physically lower levels of the structures that house their society, Krypton’s grunts and soldiers are eyewitnesses to the planet’s instability. Thus, the lower castes are literally in a position to see their world’s problems more clearly than the elites do.

If my description of “Midnight” reminds you of social justice movements currently focused on mitigating climate change and encouraging climate justice in our world today, it reads like that too. Gray, Zawadzki, and their team are engaging with the concerns of their readers poignantly.

The House of El trilogy is a prequel to Krypton’s destruction, so I can confidently say that I know how it will end. I am, however, excited to say that Book Two: The Enemy Delusion has a lot of surprises, and I’m looking forward to more in Book Three when it comes out. I think I know what will happen to Krypton, but I don’t know what will happen to Sera and Zahn. I like them. I hope things somehow turn out okay for them, but either way, I’m looking forward to finding out.

Emily Lauer

Emily Lauer

Emily Lauer lives in Manhattan with her husband, daughter and dog. She teaches writing and literature at Suffolk County Community College where she studies comics, kids' books, adaptations and visual culture. She is a former Pubwatch Editor for WWAC, and frankly, there is a lot more gray in her hair than there was when this profile picture was taken.

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