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Night of the Owl (Argentverse) Paperback – May 25, 2016
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Reviewed by Ric Croxton
This is Jeff Deischer’s Golden Age story of his Argentverse universe. Jeff’s unofficial team, the Three Musketeers, are the stars of this novel. The heroes are Hunter, Blitzkrieg, Compatriot and his teen partner Buddy. I know what you are thinking, four members for a group that says they are three. Remember, Dumas heroes had four members too. In DC, the Seven Soldiers of Victory had eight members. Great way to pull one over on the bad guys, the bad guys see three heroes coming at them and are surprised when a fourth shows up. Now that my logical explanation is finished we can get on with the story.
This is the second novel; the first was set in the Silver Age. In the first book, the Golden Age heroes are mentioned and we are teased about their history. In this book we get a look at the “non-team” and what might possibly be one of their last stories. Instead of the more formal teams we’ve seen in the Silver Age and later, with by-laws, rules, clauses and anything else you can think of. Jeff’s team is together because they want to be. In the few teams that appeared during the Golden Age, most would have separate missions and then gather together, compare notes, then fight together against the bad guys. Jeff follows the unwritten rules with his team and you feel that you are reading a story from the 1940s.
Most authors who write a Golden Age superhero story will set their time either pre-WW2 or during the War, so that they have a ready-made group of bad guys, like Nazis to work with. Not so with Jeff, he likes to give you a bad guy with a twist. If you pay attention and pick up on the clues you might guess the identity of the Owl. Jeff is a writer that “plays fair” with his stories. By “plays fair” I mean he gives you the information you need to figure out his mystery. I’ve read too many books that don’t want you to know who the bad guy is until they are ready to tell you. Not so with Jeff. The clues are there if you look.
Most of Jeff Deischer’s characters are either normal people or have enhanced abilities. Powerful enough to set them apart, but not so powerful that they are able to juggle planets or fly through the sun to dry-clean their uniform. In this story the characters are more powerful than your average person, but not to the point they make it look easy when the heroes fight or perform heroic acts. The action in the book is well written and very entertaining. After reading the book you leave it feeling that you more than got your money’s worth and would love to see more adventures.
One of my favorite scenes is where the team is talking about other heroes that either retired, killed or other endings. Even though this could be seen as a throw away scene and is very short, I found it to make me interested in reading about them. I find it amazing that Jeff can tease us with characters that may never appear again, but we can always hope. As for me, I greatly enjoyed reading “The Night of the Owl” and would recommend it to anyone that is a fan of the Golden Age comic books. I’ve read most of the books that Jeff Deischer has written and enjoyed every book. This is only the second book in this series, but I hope to see many more in the near future.
After the end of WWII, the mighty Golden Age heroes came home to end their career saving the world from Nazi aggression. Although, three of the heroes still gathering at the Round Table, and calling themselves The Three Musketeers, are Hunter, Blitzkrieg, Compatriot and his sidekick, Buddy. They work with F.B.I. agent Billy Troy, who keeps them informed on what is happening. The rest of the super heroes and super villains are either dead or retired now. Agent Troy brings news of the murder of the head of S.M.A. Corporation, who was ripped to shreds, and probably tortured. Plus, there was a weird flying creature spotted nearby. The Three Musketeers are asked to investigate.
This was a fun story, almost reading like a pulp story, but with comic book super heroes and a new villain, The Owl. The author, an expert on Golden Age and Silver Age comic book history, brings characters together in his Argentverse. And whether you read this as fan fiction, or new genre, what you get is old versus new in a brand new package that will resonate with not only comic book fans, but fans of well written action yarns with good plot devices. Although I grew up reading Golden Age comics as a child, and Silver Age comics as a teen, I am not versed in their history, nor did I read them all, so the author was speaking to a mere initiate not a master of the subject, yet he was able to spin a fine tale of light mystery in this comic book prose. There is an explanation about the Argentverse in the read of the book for new readers like myself. Highly recommended.