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Soon I Will Be Invincible

September 5, 2008

Despite never having gotten into comic books, I’m very drawn to the superhero-superpowers genre. It ties strongly into my love of magic, and having always wanted the ability to teleport. So when I saw Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman in the book store, fresh from my second or third viewing of Dr. Horrible, I thought it sounded like fun.

Soon I Will Be Invincible turned out to be a much more difficult read than I expected. It’s told from the points of view of Doctor Impossible, the smartest man in the world, a supervillain extraordinaire who has a little trouble with follow-through, and Fatale, a cyborg woman, the rookie member of a famous superhero team, the Champions. The chapters alternate between them.

I started it and was able to put it down after the first chapter, but after I picked it up again, I read until I was finished. And I still can’t pinpoint what was so captivating about it. Part of wanting to reach the end was that I wanted to know how the two characters narrating this tale were going to finally come together. Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that it wasn’t quite like I hoped.

The book is very well written, and I liked the way it explored the ‘realities’ of being a superhero, essentially how the Justice League would operate in the real world. It was a difficult read because the characters seemed to be keeping something from the reader. That wasn’t a problem, but by the end of the book, I was feeling a little frustrated that so much of the past, which was clearly important to the formation of these people, was still being withheld.

I think what keeps me from really raving about this book is that I didn’t care about the two main characters. Doctor Horrible Impossible was marginally more sympathetic because he was alone, but mostly I just pitied him; he’s a fossil with 80s fashion sense in a modern world. Fatale, on the other hand, despite having a personality, and individual thoughts, and whatnot, seemed only to exist to introduce the other Champions who were all far more interesting.

Doctor Impossible and Fatale were clearly drawn, different characters, but the voice for both was too similar. Dry, detached, as if reporting from a distance. I just didn’t care about them, though I really liked all the secondary characters, heroes and villains alike. And it turned out to be Lily’s story, a grey character in this world of black and white who impacted both sides far more than they realized.

So though I rushed to finish it, it wasn’t a complete homerun for me. Maybe a slide into third.

*

There’s so much I should write about right now, but I’m having trouble finding the words. That’s my least favorite flavor of irony.

Quote of the Day:

This morning on planet Earth, there are one thousand, six hundred, and eighty-six enhanced, gifted, or otherwise-superpowered persons. Of these, one hundred and twenty-six are civilians leading normal lives. Thirty-eight are kept in research facilities funded by the Department of Defense, or foreign equivalents. Two hundred and twenty- six are aquatic, confined to the oceans. Twenty-nine are strictly localized—powerful trees and genii loci, the Great Sphinx, and the Pyramid of Giza. Twenty-five are microscopic (including the Infinitesimal Seven). Three are dogs; four are cats; one is a bird. Six are made of gas. One is a mobile electrical effect, more of a weather pattern than a person. Seventy-seven are alien visitors. Thirty-eight are missing. Forty-one are off-continuity, permanent émigrés to Earth’s alternate realities and branching timestreams.

Six hundred and seventy-eight use their powers to fight crime, while four hundred and forty-one use their powers to commit them. Forty-four are currently confined in Special Containment Facilities for enhanced criminals. Of these last, it is interesting to note that an unusually high proportion have IQs of 300 or more—eighteen to be exact. Including me.

Soon I Will Be Invincible, Austin Grossman

Link of the Day: Soon I Will Be Invincible – I have the perfect personality for a supervillain except for the lack of ambition.

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