From Publishers Weekly
The realm of comic book heroes and villains gets a dose of realism in this whimsical debut from game design consultant Grossman. The story shifts between the perspectives of Doctor Impossible, a brilliant scientist turned world's greatest menace, and Fatale, a lonely cyborg and the newest addition to the venerable group of heroes known as the Champions. Though he's been out of commission for a while, Doctor Impossible hatches a scheme to knock the planet out of orbit ("As the Earth grows colder, my power becomes apparent, and the nations submit," he reasons). Meanwhile, Champions leader Corefire goes missing, and Fatale has to learn the ropes of superherodom as the conventional climactic showdown (at Doctor Impossible's secret lair) draws near. However fantastical, the characters (including a "genetic metahuman" and "an elite fairy guard") are thoughtfully portrayed, with Fatale—stuck in a perpetual existential crisis—bemused over the Champions' purpose, and Doctor Impossible wondering "whether the smartest man in the world has done the smartest thing he could with his life." Grossman dabbles in a host of themes—power, greed, fame, the pitfalls of ego—in this engrossing page-turner, broadening the appeal of an already inviting scenario. (June)
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Austin Grossman, Berkeley grad student, game designer, and comic-book connoisseur, offers a fresh take on the hidden realm of contemporary superheroes. Critics compare the novel favorably to Jonathan Lethem's Fortress of Solitude
, the prime-time, sci-fi soap opera Heroes
, and the animated big-screen hit The Incredibles
. Although the plot and Grossman's sense of humor wear thin for some critics, Soon I Will Be Invincible
is certainly a worthwhile diversion, a flight of fancy with heart, and the perfect vehicle for a sequel. Even Impossible's voice has the ring of truth-in a world-weary, villainous sort of way, of course: "Once you get past a certain threshold, everyone's problems are the same: fortifying your island and hiding the heat signature from your fusion reactor." Impossible's aphorism contains as relevant a metaphor for life as a reader is likely to find anywhere these days.Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.