Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Edited by Rich Horton, 2013

New Release - I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for the purpose of review.

Premise: A new anthology of fiction based around the title theme.

From other reviews of this book, I expected to like it a bit more than I did, but I did still enjoy it. Like most anthologies, this was a mixed bag. The first few, especially, I thought were just fine, nothing too exciting. The last one I found long, meandering, annoying and pointless.

In general, I think the target market for this book are people with a casual knowledge of superheroes, but who aren't really hardcore comic fans. For example, I enjoyed The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm, which followed the average citizens of a country ruled by a supervillain, and Tonight We Fly, about an aging hero, but these aren't any more inventive or interesting than stories that have already been told with Dr Doom or in Astro City. Not necessarily less interesting either, but I didn’t feel like new ground was being broken.

There were some stories I really liked, though. Wild Cards, about a Federal Unit investigating a criminal with a superpower was pretty great, and Dirae, by Peter S. Beagle, was tremendously evocative and had lovely prose. Also Dr. Death vs. the Vampire and Super Family were both pretty solid superhero stories. The Biggest had a great retro style.

I overall enjoyed this collection, but it suffered, for me, from comparison with some of the great comic writing I've read over the years. Also, I found the foreword highly pretentious and it lowered my expectations for the whole enterprise.

Still, some strong stories, some weak, and the majority good but not great.

3 Stars - A Good Book

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