Many who know me, understand that I adore Comic Books. I have loved books with pictures since I was very little. It's not a surprise then that I started collecting Comic Books at a rather young age. And then titles that most inspired me, where those of Heroic Adventurers. Not necessarily Superheroes, but eventually, I got into that Genre as well. First, by reading Batman, and later X-Men. I have since branched out into other heroes of course. I haven't gotten into novelizations of the heroes I mentioned above however. I also, love Heroes, the TV show.
For some reason, when I saw this title on the book self at my local Barnes & Noble, I was intrigued. So I had to give it a try. And boy, was I surprised. This is a really funny book, with an exciting story line. It reads almost like a Comic Book. Like many of the books that I love to read, I was able to visualize what I was reading. For me, that is really high praise for any book! But first things first...A few plot details:
Dr. Impossible is a misunderstood Super-Villain. He is "the Smartest Man in the World". He is currently in federal detention, under extreme guard with no possibility of escape. While in prison, he is planning his next evil genius plot of conquering the world. This is because his mind never stops working.
Meanwhile, he is opposed by "The Champions", a group of Superheroes who protect the world. Before the Champions, there were "The Super Squadron". They retired (but are still around). A background is given for most of the Heroes and Villains you meet in this book, even most of the ones that are just mentioned. The most powerful Hero (sort of like 'Superman') is CoreFire -- you can consider him almost "invincible" (as in unbeatable). Yet, "The Champions", are concerned with two things as the book opens. CoreFire's death and who might have killed him, and reconstituting the group after disbanding a few years ago. Additionally, they are trying to replace "Galatea" (a Robot who was part of the group and died on a mission) with "Fatale" who is a Cyborg (really, a rebuilt human, who was patched together by the military and the NSA, but was then considered psychologically unstable to work for the government).
The story unfolds of course as Dr. Impossible escapes from prison and sets out to complete his "Evil" plans. Meanwhile, "The Champions", as they are trying to integrate Fatale into their team, and search for CoreFire learn of Dr. Impossible's escape. A showdown is inevitable. I love the way this book is written. There are two viewpoints presented: That of Doctor Impossible who we meet first, and Fatale as she tries to integrate into "The Champions". Chapters alternate between the two viewpoints. The action is rapid fire, and the cover blurb is on target:
"Every comic-book cliche in this witty stunning debut is lovingly embraced, then turned inside out." (From Wired Magazine). (Note: I have not sought this review out to confirm this comment.)
Yes, there are many cliches in this book, yet the book is fantastic fun throughout. Similarly, I was taken aback by the depth of the characterizations. Doctor Impossible really struggles with who he has become. Is he really that evil? Or is he really more like you and me and lonely, and all he is seeking is acceptance, maybe companionship? -- or maybe NOT! How about Fatale? She really is seen throughout the book with what she has become, or rather with what they have made her into. She is trying to reconcile that person with who she was and how to fit in with "The Champions". After all, in her mind, she has this high ideal of who they are and how powerful they are.
In all, this is an entertaining book, which in Novel format does exactly what the best Comic Books ought to do: Humanize Super-Heroes. I highly recommend it.
3 stars out of 5.