From Publishers Weekly
Bursting onto the scene after what must be the greatestand most literarypublicity campaign ever mounted for a superhero, Chabon's Escapist is ready to do battle with the forces of evil and free all innocents held in the clutches of the Iron Chain's evil operatives. The Escapist, of course, is the hero first brought to life in Chabon's Pulitzer-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
. Now a clutch of comic veterans have brought the Master of Elusion and his entourage to life and, thankfully for the legions of K&C
fans, this work doesn't disappoint. Regardless of origins, the Escapist is a classic do-gooder. We first meet our hero when he's humble Tom Mayflower, ward of a Houdini-esque uncle; events conspire to make Tom an unlikely hero, and we're off on adventures that roam through the comics landscape of the 20th century. It's all great fun as we watch our hero do his good-guy thing, battle the frustration of getting called for jury duty and even match wits with an evil genie. A bonus story features Luna Moth, a startlingly voluptuous heroine who takes on Death himself and comes out on top. Meanwhile, a few interstitial essays work to establish our hero's bona fides as a genuine lost character from the golden age of comics; Chabon's introduction attests that the estates of Kavalier and Clay and the archivists at Dark Horse have been very generous in helping to assemble the history of this forgotten superhero.
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Fans of Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
(2000) who long to read the actual comic-book adventures of the Escapist, the superhero created by the novel's young protagonists, have recently had the chance, thanks to the comic book of which this is the first collection. It purports to repackage the "original" Escapist stories, dating from the 1940s. Scripting the Escapist's origin story himself, Chabon has enlisted contributions from leading comics artists and writers, including Howard Chaykin, Kyle Baker, and Chris Ware. The results seem rather inauthentic; attempting to copy the crude art and simplistic scripts of vintage comics would have been more audacious and perhaps more entertaining. There's no escaping the fact that these stories are just above-average mainstream superhero exploits that probably appeal more to comics aficionados than readers of the novel. Not nearly as impressive as the groundbreaking Kavalier-Clay collaborations Chabon's fiction suggested. Gordon FlaggCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved