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From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain Paperback – January 30, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Masquerading as a self-help book for superheroes, this sharp satire of caped crusaders hides a deeper critique of individual treatment versus social injustice. Faust (The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad) provides funny and knowing caricatures of the famous figures of American comic books via an extended therapy session by Dr. Eva Brain-Silverman. Analyzing their various mental hangups, Dr. Brain attempts to help heroes like irascible billionaire crime-fighter Festus Piltdown III ("Flying Squirrel") overcome the rejection of his foster ward, Tran Chi Hanh ("Chip Monk"). But African-American hero Philip Kareem Edgerton ("X-Man") resists, insisting that recent events in "sunny Los Ditkos" are signs of a coup within F*O*O*J ("Fantastic Order of Justice") and not RNPN ("Racialized Narcissistic Projection Neurosis"). Faust's well-aimed jabs spare no super sacred cows nor many pop idols and pychobabbling media stars. Underneath the humor, careful readers will find uncomfortable parallels to real-world urban tragedies in the novel's "July 16 Attacks," where Faust gives a double meaning to the "Crisis of Infinite Dearths." (Jan. 30)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Faust's latest is a self-help book for superheroes struggling with a post-Gotterdammerung lack of supervillains to fight, based on psychiatrist Eva Brain-Silverman's case studies of six fractious members of the Fantastic Order of Justice, aka the F*O*O*J. As "Dr. Brain" takes her six patients through some fascinating therapeutic processes, secrets and hidden tensions come to light. In the midst of it all, Hawk King, an ancient Egyptian deity and the most respected superhero, dies. Immediate grave repercussions include accusations of murder and conspiracy by self-proclaimed world's greatest detective and former LAB (League of Angry Blackmen) member X-Man, and the resignation from F*O*O*J of Omnipotent Man, a 71-year-old refugee from the planet Argon. As the F*O*O*J descends into a maelstrom of recrimination, internal power struggles, and personal secrets brought to unforgiving light, the role of the superhero becomes less antisupervillain and more--for lack of a better word--preemptive. Faust's follow-up to The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad (2004) is an excellent superhero comedy as well as an unsettling satire. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
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This book is clearly meant to be a satire, but the author has no finesse with his humor. The jokes come on thick, irrelevant, and detract/distract from the already flaccid storyline.
The same is true of his main characters. The parallels to existing superheroes and superhero organizations are blatant and uninspired, and the characters come off uniformly as shallow and insipid. Their personalities are cliché, one dimensional, and propped up with accents and dialects that make merely slogging through the dialogue a feat of superhuman proportion.
The writing itself is mind-numbingly contrived as well. An adverb for every verb, an adjective for every noun, slathered on in a style that invokes images of the author crouching in front of his computer, thesaurus in hand, trying to fill out a novel with fluff instead of plot. Perhaps, given that this book is supposed to be written from the perspective of Dr. Brain, this is intentional - another cliché among many. The difference is academic - I wouldn't recommend this book to ANYONE.
I think the story would have benefited from a little less extreme caricature, and perhaps if the author didn't think he was smarter than he really is.
An ok story line, and a fairly imaginative point of view, though it kind of slips on that end. Many of the sub plot points feel forced at times, and some areas feel like the author wanted to see how far he can take the caricature of the character (too far is the answer).
Overall, there are a LOT better options out there.
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