Anders (Fast Forward) delivers an ambitious collection of superhero tales that provide top-notch plots and characterizations while honoring their four-color roots. In Daryl Gregory's superbly metafictional "Message from the Bubble Gum Factory," a former sidekick finally realizes the broader implications of superheroes. Stephen Baxter nicely applies hard science to the futuristic "Vacuum Lad." Gail Simone's "Thug" and Mike Carey's "The Non-Event" bolster predictable plots with solid characters and prose. Joseph Mallozzi's "Downfall" and Marjorie M. Liu's "Call Her Savage" embrace comics clicheÌüs and make them both more complex and more entertaining. Only Mike Baron's dull, heavy-handed, and predictable "Avatar" stands out as noticeably weak, though Peter and Kathleen David's witty "Head Cases" feels more like the opening of a novel than a complete story. Overall, Anders has assembled a solid anthology that provides first-rate entertainment.
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Since Clark Kent first donned his red cape in 1938, comic-book superheroes have been steadily gaining notoriety in all niches of popular culture. In the last decade, with novels such as Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay (2000), superheroes have even gained respectability in mainstream literature. This volume of short fiction, featuring all manner of costumed crusaders and average-appearing citizens harboring secret crime-fighting identities, continues the trend. Under the guardianship of Prometheus Books’ SF editor Anders, some of the leading names in comics and speculative fiction make contributions here. The superhero in Matthew Sturges’ “Cleansed and Set in Gold,” obtains his assorted powers from consuming the flesh of other dead superheroes. Mike Baron’s “Avatar” recounts a martial-arts-trained teen’s disillusioning efforts to deliver vigilante justice. Stephen Baxter’s “Vacuum Lad” is a Saudi-born superhero wannabe who fortuitously survives a space accident. Although several tales stray into pulp-fiction territory, countering Anders’ promises of literary merit, every author here provides abundant creative vision and a sure sense of heroic storytelling. --Carl HaysSee all Editorial Reviews
This collection had some nice stories from some authors I had not heard of. It was a nice way to discover their writing and I will check out some f their other works.Published 20 months ago by kris Patterson
Like superheros? Evil vs Good? Comic books? If you answered yes to any of those, you will want to check out Masked! Read morePublished on August 18, 2013 by Wendy L. Hines
This is a great collection of fiction because it uses the basis of superheroes to examine meaningful tips in unexpected ways. Read morePublished on February 10, 2013 by Shain Eighmey
An uneven collection of prose superhero stories; none of the stories were terrible, but a lot were pretty pedestrian. Read morePublished on August 7, 2012 by Patrick O'Duffy
I can't go into detail about each story since I don't have time! But there is something for everyone here and no love of superhero stories is required. Read morePublished on August 6, 2011 by TC McCarthy
I agree with other reviewers; very monotonous indeed. Somehow it made me think of reading 20 stories about Aquaman. How much is there to say, really? Read morePublished on July 17, 2011 by Rubik
Superheroes - and supervillains - have always been problematic. They are usually all but impossible to kill, but have a single vulnerability that everyone seems to know about, and... Read morePublished on October 11, 2010 by Terry Weyna
This is an incredible collection of stories. If only the writers of this anthology would have been the writers of the show Heros. Read morePublished on September 26, 2010 by Steven Roy Author of Black Redneck vs. Space Zombies