From Publishers Weekly
Themed along the grayer areas of superhero fiction, this anthology of 18 original stories nonetheless covers a wide spectrum. One standout is Switchback, by Ann Nocenti (Daredevil
), in which teenage Mimi must try to cope with both her strange mind-control powers and the shards of familial ties that still bind her to her broken family. In Tat Master, Edgar award–winner Naomi Hirahara (Snakeskin Shamisen
) introduces tattoo artist Eye, who discovers the ability to bring her designs to life while on the run from her abusive boyfriend. Shamus winner Peter Spiegelman (Black Maps
) pulls off a classic tale of superheroics meeting reality with In Vino, Veritas, delving into a simple tale of ethics and love through the viewpoint of lie-detecting Veritas. Deceptively simple and entertaining while never skimping on serious topics, this tight anthology will satisfy any superhero enthusiast. (Aug.)
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When most of us think “superhero,” we tend to think of world savers, people in costumes with special powers. But what about superheroes for today’s world, people who are “plain old us” (to quote the editors’ introduction)—not world savers but “flawed and scared” people who live in the real world . . . and occasionally outside it? This mostly excellent collection of 18 short stories features contributions by such notables as Lorenzo Carcaterra (about a vengeful healer), Walter Mosley (a cursed crook), and Peter Spiegelman (a crime fighter whose secret elixir is wine). These aren’t stories about cartoon heroes, although some of them, like Spiegelman’s, feature some of the trappings of comic-book superhero tales. They are, instead, stories about recognizably human characters whose lives have a dark and scary side: in L. A. Banks’ “Dream Knights,” for example, the heroine works for a paper-supply company, but when she is asleep, she battles evil in the dreamscape. Not all of the stories here are gems, but none of them are duds, either. A solid and interesting collection that should appeal to fans of the superhero genre, especially those willing to explore the subject from a new and darker perspective. --David Pitt