Thursday, September 18, 2008

Soon I Will Be Invincible, Austin Grossman

Posted by lea at 5:26 PM
Told from the point of view of superheroes in a comic-book world, Soon I Will Be Invincible is an interesting read that makes superheroes seem just like the average person - except, of course, for their superhuman powers. They have insecurities, eating disorders, blonde moments, self-doubt and a pecking order.

The story alternates between two first-person narrators - ageing supervillain Dr Impossible and rookie superhero Fatale. Dr Impossible, fresh from his latest incarceration in maximum security super-jail, is out to destroy the world... again. There's a hilarious and heart-breaking moment when he goes to a dingy villain hangout in an abandoned shopping centre to meet some old cronies. The pathos of Grossman's description of the unglamorous side of villainy is at once hilarious and cringe-inducing, as Dr Impossible catches a bus to get there, changes into his costume in the bushes and has to walk back home afterwards.

Fatale is the newest member of the New Champions, a super-league made up of a motley crew of heroes, including recently divorced Damsel and Blackwolf (yes, it appears superheroes get divorced too). Through her eyes we see the competitiveness, insecurities and all-too-humanness of the superheroes as they are forced to work together to find missing CoreFire, the greatest superhero of them all.

In Soon I Will Be Invincible, Austin Grossman takes a comic book idea and makes it accessible to people who may not really be into comic books themselves but are still fascinated by the whole superhero genre, like me. It's particularly interesting because the heroes and villains aren't stereotyped or revered for their inherent qualities, but are rather deconstructed and shown to be normal people whose personal decisions about their abnormal abilities make them what they are. Overall, I found it to be a great read.


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