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Masks: Ordinary Champions Paperback – August 30, 2014
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The superheroes in the Masks series are not invincible men, they are teenagers and young men at the brink of adulthood, but their actions are more driven by the unsteady feelings more than by an high purpose to do the good for humanhood.
In the second book, Eric was having problem with his boyfriend Peter, since Peter was starting to be acquainted with his superpowers and maybe he was neglecting his new beau. Between adults this would have been not a problem, Eric would have understood that Peter was involved in something bigger then them, but as I said before, they are only teenagers, and Eric is jealous, and Peter is not able to comfort and reassure him. And so Eric falls in the dark side, at the same time being "kidnapped" and going willingly toward the "evil" superhero's side.
But in this mix of ordinary champions and teenager superheroes, even if you are an evil hero, you are not dispensed from being a teenager and from having to do your homework and chores, and so Eric soon realizes that he is missing his family and friends, and having superpowers are not consolation enough for what he lost.
The relationship between Eric and Peter is not as center stage here as it was in the first book. This final installment in the series is more about Eric's growth, of his nearing that brink to adulthood. But it's also the growth of the community in where Eric lives, they learn that they can be their own heroes, and that they can defeat the evil everyday, without any outside help. It's all a question of acquiring consciousness of who you are and of what you are capable to do, even without having superpower: paraphrasing a famous sentence, the force is inside you. It's not that there isn't a love story, it's also that before Eric could fully enjoy his love for Peter, he needs to grow; love as a teenager is not the same as an adult.
I love that the story, even when developing the fantasy side, never forgets that we are speaking of young adults, of boys with the boundaries of boys, little men that when they have granted their wish of being free and independent, realize that they miss their home and mom; they can have superpowers, but the power of love is always stronger.
The very ending of the book was beautiful, because it seems that not only Eric is learning to take his fate into his hands, but the citizens of Vintage City are learning that they are the one who can take their city back from the villains who are causing havoc among them.
Eric and Peter are apart for a long time in this book and they have to find the way to be ordinary guys in a world that is demanding a lot from them. Both Eric and Peter, even if they're living their adventures, have to face every-day life: disapproving mothers, failing grades, tutors. It's the best thing of this series: there's never a moment when we forget that Eric is still a 16-year-old guy who's growing up in his family. On to the next!