Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman (2007, Pantheon Books)
Superheroes are a big industry these days, what with the multi-million dollar box office blockbuster franchises from both Marvel, DC Comics, and plenty of smaller-press companies. Not to be outdone, video game designer Austin Grossman pens Soon I Will Be Invinvible, a unique yet eerily familiar novel about superpowered heroes and villains.
The story alternates between the point of view of incarcerated supervillain Doctor Impossible and amnesiac cyborg superhero Fatale. CoreFire, the world's most popular hero, has disappeared and the remaining members of his now defunct superteam, the Champions, set aside their differences and reform the team to solve the mystery. Fatale is recruited for the new team along with other newcomers, including the enigmatic figure of Lily— a former villain herself, and known associate of Doctor Impossible. Meanwhile, Impossible himself escapes from prison to put his latest and most diabolical plan for world domination into effect.
Grossman knows his comics lore, and Soon I Will Be Invincible is thickly layered with familiar comic book plot and character archtypes. He does an admirable job of balancing these traditional archtypes with a bit of realism that makes his heroes and villains much more than just two-dimensional personas. The whole falls somewhere between classic Golden-/ Silver-age comics and more "realistic" popular sources like Alan Moore's Watchmen and the fledgling NBC hit Heroes.
While the story does suffer from the occasional lapse of logic (even comic book logic) and confusing prose, it is a commendable first work. Throw on some tights and a cape, lock yourself away in your own Fortress of Solitude and give Soon I Will Be Invincible a read.
Rating: 3 Stars