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So, here's the thing: I understand the desire to take superheroes and turn them into people, and one of the key features of the genre is actually the perversion of tried and tested genre rules to make the story different. What I don't get is the desire to produce six stories about superheroes with the goal of depressing the reader half to death.
Frankly, few of these stories needed someone with powers to justify the plotline. The stories tend to explore sacrifice a lot, but the one thing I got out of them, which I think indicates the way the author's mind was working when he wrote these, is a total lack of hope. There are no happy endings in here.
So, don't read this expecting what it says on the cover. These are not superhero stories, the contents is about some people who can do some stuff that isn't normal and they are about to have their lives ruined. Superheroes don't always win, but there's always hope.
Technically: I can't help but wonder whether the author is better at comic scripts. The narration isn't bad, though the breathy voice isn't exactly perfect for the subject matter, and a female voice would have suited the female roles (of which there are many) better.
These stories reminded me a lot of Kurt Busiek's "Astro City," both in their tone and form. Like those books, these stories deconstruct the superhero genre - embracing the trappings of the form (skintight costumes, silly villain names, etc) and imbuing them with a real world sensibility and darkness.
I particularly liked the sexual politics and gender roles at play in these stories.
To be clear, if you've never read anything but 70's era Superman books, these stories are not for you. But anyone who likes the work of Mark Millar, Kurt Busiek, or Warren Ellis should find these six stories a real treat.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I'm a big sci-fi fan, but don't usually go in for superhero fiction, because the whole black-and-white red-white-and-blue thing is boring to me. But these stories weren't like that at all, and got into the gray zones I find intriguing. I took a chance with this one, but I'm glad I did!