Archive for July, 2011

No Fear

Daredevil #1

And that right there is the dadgum prettiest cover I’ve seen in a couple weeks. If you can’t see it clearly enough, the entire background is made up entirely of sound effects — the skyscrapers and streets are made of “HONK”s and “SKREEE”s and “WHOOSH”es, the water tower is made of “GLUG”s and “DRIP”s, and the pigeons are made of “FLAP”s and “COO”s. It’s an outstanding piece of work.

Inside, we get a new introduction to the Man Without Fear, as he prepares to crash a Mafia wedding. He’s heard a rumor that someone is planning a hit on someone in the wedding party, and Daredevil’s enhanced senses allow him to track the supervillain named Spot as he gets ready to kidnap the don’s granddaughter. Daredevil is able to keep the little girl out of the teleporter’s grasp, but the mobsters think DD is the kidnapper. Of course, he eventually stops the bad guys (and lays a killer liplock on the bride), and then has to face the major struggle — everyone in New York knows that Matt Murdock is really Daredevil, and it’s making it impossible for him to keep any courtroom clients.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is a seriously brilliant comic. We get new insights into what it’s like to live with Daredevil’s vastly enhanced senses, particularly his radar sense. We get jaw-dropping action, outstanding dialogue and characterization, clever humor, you name it. Writer Mark Waid completely kills both stories in this issue, and artists Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin may be even better — the artwork is simply amazing. Better start picking this one up now — we may be seeing the beginning of one of the greats.

Xombi #5

The villainous Roland Finch has taken over the Ninth Stronghold, a giant floating city made out of the skull of a Biblical giant, and he plans to either take over the other floating strongholds or destroy them. David Kim and his allies must prepare to chase down Finch, lay siege to the Ninth Stronghold, and somehow oust him before he causes more destruction. Can they do it?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Frazer Irving’s art continues to wildly impress, and John Rozum’s writing continues to blow minds. This is a story with a wealth of wild ideas, from the immense Nephilim, the giants of the Old Testament, whose bones are used to build the Skull Stronghold, to the brief hints of the magical wonders common to all of the strongholds, to David’s struggles with his own immortality and the knowledge that his girlfriend may reject him for it. It’s deeply disappointing that this series will be cancelled after the next issue, because weirdness this wonderful is certainly something that only comics really do well…

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Hocus Pocus

Zatanna #15

First of all, ain’t that a gorgeous cover? Seems like nearly all the covers in this series have been really nice.

Our story starts calmly enough — Zatanna is settling in for a relaxing evening after a performance — until someone shoots an arrow through her throat! It missed the jugular, thankfully, or this would be a really short comic — but the arrow was poisoned, and it’s not a wound to laugh off anyway. And obviously, someone is in the theater gunning for Zee. In this case, it’s a bunch of well-armed and organized witch-hunters. Even with a healing potion bandaged around her throat, is Zatanna going to be able to avoid a dozen armed mercenaries without the benefit of her magical abilities?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A wonderfully claustrophobic and intense story, with the slow sections devoted to character moments and the rest of the comic dedicated to entirely furious action. Derek Fridolfs’ story was an absolute blast to read, and the art by Jamal Igle and John Dell was really outstanding.

Supergirl #66

Supergirl is disguised as a normal prospective college student as she investigates the disappearances at Stanhope College — and she and another bunch of students are lost in the steam tunnels under campus. Since she’s surrounded by other students, she has to avoid using her powers, or they’ll figure out her secret identity. Lois Lane takes her own investigation into the disappearances directly to the college administration, which just manages to alert the evil Professor Ivo that the good guys are on his trail. And then the robot rats attack. Can Supergirl keep everyone safe and still maintain her secret?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautiful art by ChrisCross and a really fun story from Kelly Sue DeConnick. Equal doses of action and humor, along with some excellent characterization.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Knights of Badassdom” has the most gloriously geeky movie trailer of the year.
  • You like geeky papercraft? Here’s some geeky papercraft for you.
  • The Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s film of “The Shining” had corridors that were literally impossible. Watch these videos to see how they played with set design.

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Reboot Hill

The big San Diego Comic Con was this past weekend, with comic publishers and movie studios showing up to make big announcements and try to generate positive buzz for new projects. There was, of course, more attention than usual going to DC Comics, as they made multiple announcements and conducted numerous panels about the upcoming DC Reboot in September.

And the more I hear about it, the less I like.

First, I really do try not to give in to the desire to scream “THEY CHANGED IT, NOW IT SUCKS” because that’s such a pitiful nerd stereotype. I mean, there are lots of things about the Reboot that I like. I like seeing a new “Blue Beetle” series. I like seeing a new “Static Shock” series. I like seeing a new “Batwoman” series. The previewed “Wonder Woman” art looks incredible. I don’t even mind all the costume changes — I can deal with a Superman who doesn’t have the red underpants, and I can deal with a Wonder Woman who wears pants. Granted, most of the new costumes are spectacularly bad (Hello, Flash. Hello, Arsenal. Hello, Starfire. Hello, every character in “Teen Titans.”), but most of those costumes will only last ’til the artists decide they want to draw the classic costumes again.

Nevertheless, the more I hear about the Reboot, the more I think it’s going to be a colossal failure.

How bad are things looking? Well, there was a report this weekend that Wonder Woman was going to have retractable pants. I’m pretty sure that was a joke — but the real announcements coming out have been so bizarre, I’m not really sure whether they were kidding or not.

Among other things:

  • There’s still no indication that the new DC Universe will have a place for popular characters like former Batgirl Cassandra Cain, former Flash Wally West, or anyone from the Justice Society.
  • Superman is going to be pushed as a grim, brooding, anti-social loner. In fact, Supergirl and Superboy look like they’re going to be brooding loners, too. This is completely counter to the past few decades, where one of the Man of Steel’s most unshakeable character points was his optimism and charisma.
  • Batman has been active for just five years but has already burned through four sidekicks of varying ages. This is going to cause huge continuity problems — for example, Damian, Bruce Wayne’s son, is about 12 years old, but I doubt Bruce tangled with Ra’s al Ghul and his daughter (and Damian’s mother) Talia prior to becoming Batman.
  • And something that just infuriates me. Remember Lian Harper? The five-year-old daughter of Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow — adorable and much-loved supporting character — who was shockingly killed at the end of the reviled “Cry for Justice” miniseries. Well, Dan DiDio announced that, in the rebooted DCU, the character never existed at all. What the heck is DiDio’s problem with the character? Jason Todd gets brought back to life, Deathstroke gets multiple unsuccessful series, Sinestro gets shoehorned into the Green Lantern Corps — but Lian Harper is apparently so hated by DC’s top brass that they have to basically kill her off twice? Seriously, DiDio, this next bit is just for you.

Other problems? DC’s PR blitz for the Comic Con seemed at times to focus less on promoting their new comics and more on insulting fans who had legitimate questions about the Reboot. People who asked why DC chose to hire an alarmingly small number of female creators were shrugged off and sneered at. At one point, Grant Morrison told female creators to submit their work to DC — despite the fact that DC doesn’t accept unsolicited submissions. DiDio insisted that DC only hired the best creators, implying that there were no female creators who were good enough to work at DC. I mean, last year, Marvel filled up three issues of the “Girl Comics” anthology miniseries with nothing but work from women, but DiDio doesn’t think any of them are any good.

Seriously, Dan DiDio thinks Rob Liefeld is better than Amanda Conner, Nicola Scott, Kathryn Immonen, Colleen Coover, Marjorie Liu, Devin Grayson, Ann Nocenti, Trina Robbins, Stephanie Buscema, Jill Thompson, Louise Simonson, Molly Crabapple, Nikki Cook, Ming Doyle, Faith Erin Hicks, and Carla Speed McNeil.

That’s not how you do PR. Any normal company would have your PR manager scrambling to fix the damage over the weekend, waiting in your office the next morning ordering you to stop speaking to the press, and telling his supervisor he needs a raise if he’s going to fix your disasters anymore.

I don’t wanna keep rattling on about this forever, so let’s hit another couple of serious issues about the Reboot and call it a day.

First, there’s this from Todd McFarlane. Now listen, I’m not the biggest fan of McFarlane’s comics — but he’s been running an immensely successful company for a couple of decades, and I think he’s making tons of sense in this interview, where he outlines his reasons why he believes the Reboot isn’t going to be successful for the company or for retailers.

Second, there’s an issue that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but which I think could cause major troubles for the Reboot. While most of the superhero comics are set in the present day, Action Comics and Justice League are both set five years in the past. It seems to me that’s something that’s going to cause tons of confusion for readers, especially new readers. Why is Superman a nonflying superhero wearing a T-shirt and jeans in one comic, but a flying, armored powerhouse in the other? Besides confusing readers, you’re also guaranteed to cause even more continuity headaches down the line.

And finally, there are the $64,000 questions: Why is DC being rebooted, and who ordered the reboot? The members of one of the Superman panels said the Reboot hasn’t been planned for that long — probably not much more than six months ago.

I don’t think this was an idea that came from within DC Comics. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Reboot was cooked up after Time-Warner started taking a stronger interest in the comics division. And I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that many of the changes being made in the Reboot — dark, brooding Superman, weird costumes, increased emphasis on “dark comics” like “Justice League Dark” and “I, Vampire” and “edgy comics” like the new Wildstorm relaunches — sound exactly like what you’d expect a clueless Hollywood movie exec to come up with in an attempt to make comics “hip.” I think the whole Reboot was ordered from the higher-ups at Time-Warner — either from Diane Nelson, in her role as the head of DC Entertainment Inc., or from someone even higher up in the corporate hierarchy.

Is that a good thing? I mean, we expect the folks running Time-Warner to know how to make popular entertainment, right? Well, I do hope that they can re-create the success of the “Dark Knight” movies within comics themselves — but on the other hand, these were also the people behind the recent film versions of “Watchmen” or “Catwoman.” On the whole, I’m not particularly hopeful.

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Friday Night Fights: Rock Fight!

We got just this one fight left in the latest round of Friday Night Fights — just one more fight featuring Ben Grimm, the Thing. So let’s just get right to it.

Today’s battle comes from May 1974’s Fantastic Four #146, by Gerry Conway, Ross Andru, and Joe Sinnott, as the Thing takes on Ternak:

Awright, you kids be good, have a fun weekend, and I’ll see y’all back here on Monday!

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Bulletin Bored

I gotta say — last week was one of the best single weeks for comics I’ve enjoyed in quite a while. I felt like every comic I picked up was grand fun and worth reading and re-reading.

This week was the exact opposite. Lots of stuff seemed competently written — but nearly all of it just simply bored me. There were some bright spots here and there — I’ll review them next week — but on the whole, just depressingly boring stuff.

So let’s get after it.

Power Girl #26

Dark Confession: Even though I still hate Judd Winick, I finally went and read the trade paperback of the “Power Girl” comics he worked on. Hey, I was depressed that there’d be no Power Girl in the DC Reboot, so I decided I’d give it a shot. And it was pretty good, so I figured I’d give the last couple issues a shot.

In this issue, PeeGee attends the first ever Power Girl fan convention, filled with tons of girls cosplaying as her. She looks on it as an opportunity to encourage young women to have positive self-images, to confront low-level evil where they can, and to uphold general feminist principles. The whole convention gets highjacked into outer space by a space alien disguised as a convention-goer — her planet is under siege by invaders, and she wants to duplicate Power Girl’s powers for herself. Of course, there’s a chance that the other fans can help Power Girl stop the villain.

Verdict: Thumbs down. It was entirely competent work, but — dangit, it was just boring.

Rocketeer Adventures #3

More pulp-action tales starring the Rocketeer and his girlfriend Betty, with stories by Ryan Sook, Jonathan Ross, and Tommy Lee Edwards, pinups by Stephanie Buscema and Joe Chiodo, and a prose story by Joe R. Lansdale, illustrated by Bruce Timm.

Verdict: Some outstanding art here, but ultimately thumbs down. It was boring.

Tiny Titans #42

Bizarro Supergirl makes her first appearance. She gets romanced by Match, while Beast Boy dodges rocks thrown by Terra all issue. We also get a brief glimpse of the Bizarro Tiny Titans.

Verdict: Thumbs down. What, even my beloved Tiny Titans? Yes, thumbs down. It was boring.

Criminal Macabre/The Goon: When Freaks Collide

Well, “Criminal Macabre” is about a guy named Cal McDonald who hangs out with a ghoul named Mo’Lock, and they hunt monsters. Both of them get kidnapped to some kind of otherworld at the same time as the Goon and Franky, famed for their drinking and face-punching, get kidnapped to the same place. While the Goon and Cal beat up on each other, Franky and Mo’Lock go exploring. Will beating up hordes of monsters give all our heroes their chance to go home?

Verdict: Thumbs down. There was a nice “Little Rascals” gag and a nice final-page reveal — but on the whole, it was boring.

Batman: Gates of Gotham #3

Well, there’s a lot of historical stuff about Gotham, and some guy trying to blow up the city because his ancestors got a rough deal, and the various members of the Bat-family squabbling and working together, and I’m not sure there’s much else I can say about it.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I mean, it’s all perfectly well done, and just about any other time, I’d probably be enjoying this. But I just plain thought it was boring.

Avengers Academy #16

I missed an issue of this one somewhere down the line. The Academy members have been dragged into the Fear Itself crossover. The Absorbing Man and Titania have acquired magical hammers that give them godlike powers and mostly over-write their personalities with the minds of ancient gods. But the Absorbing Man has somehow shaken that off, and he’s giving some serious whupass to Hank Pym. Elsewhere, Veil is trying to save a little girl’s mother, but how will she react when victory is stolen from her at the last moment?

Verdict: Thumbs down. It was boring.

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Blood Oaths

Hey, we got two great comics by Scott Snyder right here! Let’s jump into ’em!

American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #2

Felicia Book and Cash McCogan are undercover for the vampire-hunting Vassals of the Morning Star. They’re posing as wealthy Americans who are sympathetic to the Nazi cause, so they can get into the secret castle where the Nazis may have discovered a cure for vampirism. After their plane gets shot down by over-enthusiastic Germans and they barely escape death, they bluff their way in and get an audience with the very nervous scientist behind the discovery — and he slips them a note indicating that he knows who they are and he wants them to help him flee tonight. Unfortunately, there’s a little snag in those plans — a full brigade of Nazi vampires…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of great stuff here, including one of Felicia’s nightmares about Skinner Sweet, an exciting plane crash, and the promise of future Nazi-stomping to come. Sean Murphy’s artwork is just astoundingly beautiful. There’s something great about a series where every issue, including spinoff miniseries, are just fantastically fun.

Detective Comics #879

A Batman comic where Batman doesn’t even appear? Where’s the fun in that? Well, we got the Joker engineering yet another escape from Arkham, utilizing secret knowledge about a doctor’s private life, along with a new delivery method for Joker venom. And we got Commissioner Gordon, still suspicious of his son, James Jr. The Commissioner goes to see his daughter, Barbara, former Batgirl, current Oracle — and he asks her to analyze a dose of James’ anti-psychotic meds to make sure it’s really doing the job. And not only are the meds NOT working, they may be the cause of an even greater disaster for Gotham City.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Immensely awesome and creepy comic — one of the creepiest I’ve seen this year, both for the Joker’s contributions — where you can’t even see his entire face, much less his insane grin — but for James and the ever-mounting evidence of his misdeeds. And again, this was a comic that didn’t even feature Batman, the supposed main character — and it’s still a perfect illustration of what this comic — DETECTIVE Comics — should be all about.

So that Scott Snyder — he’s something else, ain’t he? Might be the best unsung writer DC or Marvel have got…

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Descent into Hell

Hellboy: The Fury #2

The war building is not just a matter Hellboy and the Noble Dead of England versus Nimue’s faerie army — this is the first act of the Apocalypse itself. The Four Horsemen are riding, two-thirds of the people on Earth are going to die, and it’s looking less and less likely that anyone is going to survive all this. Alice wants to see what’s happening and witnesses the last witches drowning themselves in remorse over helping to cause this. The Wild Hunt rides, lightning storms destroy humanity’s cities, and Arthur and his knights are destroyed. And Hellboy is battling a mighty dragon — no, wait, make that the Dragon. And Hellboy isn’t doing so great.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s apocalyptic, it’s grim, it’s terrifying — and it’s still intensely exciting and fun. The art is beautiful, the writing is beautiful, and you should be reading this.

The Unwritten #27

Tom Taylor’s investigations into his father’s journals have turned up something new — a comic book starring a superhero called the Tinker who pre-dates Superman by two years — and who almost no one has ever heard of before. Tom and Lizzie are able to magically eavesdrop on a conversation from the ’30s between Tom’s father, Wilson Taylor, and Pullman, the ruthless assassin who now runs the Cabal, in which they discuss whether the Cabal needs to be concerned about the development of the comic book medium. Later, Tom, Lizzie, and Savoy read Wilson’s journal as he recounts going in search of the comic’s creator.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I was a bit surprised that this series was going to go meta and focus on comics so soon — I was expecting some more romps through classic literature, maybe something in “Frankenstein” or non-Western lit — but it’s a pretty happy surprise. The Tinker looks like an interesting character, and it’ll be nice to learn more about what Tom’s father used to do when he worked for the Cabal.

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Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Friend of Dorothy #2

The first issue of this series came out all the way back in September, so let’s review a bit: the comic is created by Brian Anderson, creator of “So Super Duper,” the relentlessly funny and unquestioningly LGBTQ-positive superhero webcomic. “Friend of Dorothy” is Brian’s newest project — part superhero comic, part tribute to “The Wizard of Oz,” part character study of life for gay teens.

So last issue, our hero, Scott-John, was granted his powers by the shirtless wizard Gorlindo, met his grumpy adviser, a little black dog named Dodo, and fought off an attack by the scarecrow-like Scrows. In this issue, Scott-John learns that his boyfriend Mason also received a visit from Gorlindo and is eager to appoint himself as Scott-John’s sidekick. After they battle another horde of Scrows, Scott-John leads them to Oz and a little candy shop called the Lollipop Guild. Unfortunately, the shop is run by an evil Munchkin, and they’re attacked by the mind-controlling Mankeys. Can our heroes survive these attacks, or are they destined to fall?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s funny and exciting, with solid dialogue and pretty good characterization. I love the way Mason keeps irritating Dodo with his chatterbox tendencies, and the little details about all of Scott-John’s Oz-related weapons. The Mankeys and their mind-controlled victims are really creepy. And I like the relatively low-level of angst on display here — Scott-John and Mason are both out-of-the-closet, and though they may not be entirely happy with how their families may have reacted to their sexual orientation, they don’t let that get in the way of doing what needs to be done, whether that involves hitting bad guys with axes, scolding the increasingly grumpy Dodo about keeping secrets from them, or even just unashamedly expressing their love for each other. They’re relatively badass — kinda giggly badass, but badass nonetheless.

There’s a preview of this issue of “Friend of Dorothy.” And don’t forget to order the full issue, too.

Batgirl #23

The penultimate issue of Bryan Q. Miller’s mega-brilliant series finds Batgirl back in Gotham and discovering that the Reapers have tracked down the Gray Ghost and killed him. He was able to leave a recording warning Stephanie about some of their plans, but she’s already too late to stop a group of the power-suited Reapers — Figment, Miranda, and Jabberwock — from slaughtering a bunch of cops and busting Harmony and Slipstream out of jail. Can Stephanie Brown take these five down solo? Not a chance. Luckily, she’s got some backup. But no, for once, it’s not anyone else from the Bat-family — it’s Supergirl, Miss Martian, Stargirl, and Bombshell. But who’s pulling the strings behind the scenes?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Oh, so very many thumbs up. It’s not just for how awesomely Stephanie is written, or how great the humor and action are. But it’s also so wonderful to see those other four heroines before DC abandons them for their New-’90s Reboot. This is going to be another comic that I’m going to miss a lot.

B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Monsters #1

Liz Sherman, pyrokinetic former agent of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, is hiding out from the BPRD in a little nowhere redneck trailer park. And she’s not fitting in very well. She busts up the jaw of one of the local thugboys and generally gets on everyone else’s nerves. But they all know she’s a badass, rumored to be a secret agent, and when the belligerent Jubal is seen threatening his wife with a shotgun, they come running to Liz to help defuse the situation. But what she finds isn’t anything like what she was expecting.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Love the writing by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, and I love the artwork by Tyler Crook. Outstanding mood and dialogue, and the completely unexpected twist really brought this into the win column. Dagblasted awesome horror.

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Zombie Nation

iZombie #15

Gwen and her boyfriend, Horatio, are heading into the caves under the cemetery to look for Spot, who is lost in the catacombs being stalked by zombies. Horatio thinks he has to protect Gwen, since he’s the big, tough monster hunter. But of course, the zombies aren’t interested in Gwen at all, since she already is a zombie. But that just leads to Gwen worrying about whether Horatio would actually kill her if he ever found out she was undead. Meanwhile, Spot has stumbled into an underground temple to a dark god, Galatea is performing unauthorized brain surgery, and Spot’s father, trapped in the body of a chimpanzee, goes out looking for his son. All that, plus the Dead Presidents, supernatural agents of the government, finally make their way to Oregon to take on the city’s zombie invasion.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of stuff happening, but it all ties together pretty well. As always Chris Roberson’s plot and dialogue are grand, and Mike Allred’s artwork is complete fun.

Robert Bloch’s That Hellbound Train #2

Martin has made a deal with the Devil, in his guise as the conductor of the Hellbound Train, that all he has to do is unwind his watch, and time will stop for him, allowing him to live forever in whatever moment he chooses. He faces numerous temptations to stop the watch, but he realizes there are other opportunities for him to gain greater happiness. He works his way up from the street, gets a job, gets a home, gets a car, gets his pick of pretty girls, and finally falls in love and marries. But there are other temptations, and not all of them are the earthly kind.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Like I said before, I love the stuffing out of this story, and it’s fun to see it re-created here in comic form. The art is still brilliant and creepy and cool, so I’m still very enthusiastic about it.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • I think we can make this official: DC’s new “Red Hood and the Outlaws” series has the worst new costumes of the entire reboot.
  • Siskoid has some cool ideas about sci-fi movies you could plug Dr. Who into.
  • And Bully comes up with a terrible pun that — fair warning — you will only get if you’re familiar with old Marvel creators.

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Golden Girl

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn

Author Carrie Vaughn is best known for her Kitty Norville series of urban fantasy novels, but earlier this year, she published a superhero prose novel called “After the Golden Age.”

The story focuses on Celia West, the only child of Captain Olympus and Spark, the greatest superheroes in the world. Celia, however, has no powers, isn’t particularly fond of her parents, and has done just about everything she can to distance herself from the world of superheroes and supervillains, so she can make a normal life for herself. It doesn’t do her a lot of good, though — she’s still a very frequent target for kidnappers hoping to hold her hostage to make her parents leave their criminal enterprises alone. Celia has gotten almost accustomed to it all — getting kidnapped just makes her angry now — angry that her evenings get uprooted by crooks, angry that she’ll have to rely on her parents and the other members of the Olympiad to save her, angry that everyone still seems to think it’s wonderful to have superheroes as parents.

On top of that, Celia is trying to start a new relationship with a handsome cop, the son of the mayor of Commerce City, and she’s been asked, as part of her job as an accountant, to assist in the prosecution of the Destructor, the most evil supervillain in the world and her parents’ archnemesis. That leads to a whole new bunch of troubles, as the Destructor’s trial reveals the darkest secret of Celia’s past, which leads to her losing her job, her friends, and everything else she’s worked for. But she’s now on the trail of the mystery of the Destructor’s origin and his connection to her parents and the city’s other superheroes. Will Celia be able to track down the answers she’s looking for? Will she ever reconcile with her parents, and does she even need to? Will she be able to find her own path to success and love? And can she hold her own against Commerce City’s criminals and supervillains without superpowers of her own?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really enjoyed the characters, the dialogue, the excellent twists and turns of the plot. This isn’t the most action-packed story — after all, the main character is an unpowered person who is generally used to waiting for superheroes to show up to rescue her — but it does have its actiony moments, too, some of them very suspenseful and exciting.

Here’s my favorite reason to recommend this one: I read it over several days when I was really, really exhausted by the time bedtime rolled around — and I did everything I could to put off going to bed so I could keep reading the book.

It’s fun, it’s absorbing, it grabs you and won’t let you go. Go pick it up.

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