Tag Archives: superheroes

Good guys, bad guys, gray areas

renegades552 pages.  Sigh.

There is a whole lot of this book to like, I guess.

By the last third, you pretty much know you’re going to be reading a sequel a year from now.  There are just too many unexplored tunnels to snoop down and unanswered questions to wrap it all up in one book, even one that is 552 pages long.

The average teen super-reader can probably power through this in a few days.  There’s so much happening, some seriously conflicted characters, and loads of action.  And superheroes.  The villains might not be so bad. Some of the good guys are kind of jerks.  There’s a lot to work with here.

The writing is pitched perfectly – sometimes little jokes and sly remarks pop up, sometimes characters get dinged for taking themselves too seriously, sometimes it’s dark, sometimes silly.  Marissa Meyer manages to keep this monster of a story hurtling along, maintaining your interest, creating new things to wonder about.  It’s almost cinematic (and would make a great movie), although you might have to make a few of them to be able to cover it all.

552 pages.  Sigh.  Maybe I’ve been reading too many picture books and middle grade novels, but working this one into an already busy life takes some serious commitment in time and focus.  I hope the right readers find it.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

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International buddy road trip – Amazon style

wwoman warbringerLike the recent Wonder Woman movie, this book lets Diana Prince be Wonder Woman with no apologies.  She’s fast and strong and can whip that lasso around and deflect bullets, too.  So what?  She’s been training for this moment her whole life, even if she might not have realized it.

Instead of saving a downed pilot, she saves Alia Keralis, a rich girl who turns out to be a Warbringer, a modern relative of Helen of Troy.  In saving Alia, Diana has messed things up for a whole island of Amazons and possibly the world, too.

And this is where it gets really fun.  After landing in New York by mistake, Alia reconnects with her brother Jason, his friend Theo, and her bestie Nim.  A gala is destroyed by bombs and dudes with semi-automatic weapons, and Diana must do what she can to protect Alia long enough to get her to a place that can cleanse her of her Warbringer heritage and fast enough to beat a deadline.

If your road trips usually involve wealthy people jetting off to Greece, morphing into gods of panic, and fighting off lots of men in tactical gear in black vehicles, more power to you.  For those of us who live much quieter lives, we can still enjoy the chase, worry about possible betrayals, and be happy about the conclusion.

There’s just enough information about Greek history and myths to keep it interesting and moving along, without seeming like we’re going to be tested on everything at the end.  And Wonder Woman?  She’s awesome – smart, funny, strong, strategic, and even kind – just like we’d expect her to be.

Wonder Woman:  Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

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Wonder Twin Power ACTIVATE!

cosmic commandosI have a confession to make.  For years, my husband has randomly said something along the lines of “wonder twin power—activate!”  Because we are a family loaded up in references—many dating back to Firesign Theatre, which he listened to with his friends when he was a teenager—I have never actually asked about or looked up the reference.

This morning, however, when I was thinking about Cosmic Commandos, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “wonder twin power”, so I finally decided to look it up.  It turns out that the Wonder Twins are Junior Superfriends and were in a cartoon way back, which explains everything I need to know.  I was more of a Scooby Doo and Looney Tunes gal.

Reference explained… and now on to the book of day!  Cosmic Commandos is a light, fun read.  You could delve into the relationship between the twins – one brash and bold, the other nerdy and social – but it’s as much fun to read along as Jeremy of the “stinkish life” charges forward without thinking and ends up mostly succeeding at destroying an evil alien power.  Why not?  It’s a little bit of summer fun, right?

Cosmic Commandos by Christopher Eliopoulos

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Wonder Woman – outsider, insecure, bad at flying?

wonder womanImagine The Diary of a Wimpy Kid + Dork Diaries + DC super heroes + boarding school, and you pretty much have the new DC Super Hero Girls series.  It could all go horribly wrong, easily and quickly, but somehow they were smart enough to get Lisa Yee to sign up for this gig, and it’s exactly what it should be – light, fun, surprisingly quirky.

Wonder Woman, you see, is the new girl at school.  She’s got a lot of new things to learn, she thinks too literally, she doesn’t fly straight when she gets nervous, being the center of attention sometimes gets uncomfortable.  She wants to be the best and do her best, but life at Super Hero High is so different from the island of Amazons she knows and loves.

This is a certain kind of book, and it’s clearly going to be part of a series targeted at a girl power crowd, possibly to rope them into caring more about comics and potentially buying more comics?  However, with Lisa Yee telling the story, it’s super chatty, silly, and still kind of touching at moments.  It’s not deep and thought-provoking, but sometimes you need a break from the drama, right?  This is super fun in more ways than one.

Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee

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Superheroes, villains and special powers

alicia avatar (2)I spend a lot of time thinking about superheroes. I live with a Spider-Man fan, and of course, there’s not just one Spider-Man. I can never keep all the versions straight, but it turns out that doesn’t matter that much, since I have an expert on hand to re-explain them at any time, in any place. We regularly talk about whether Wonder Woman could take out certain villains. We discuss what the lamest superpower would be – right now, we mostly agree that “moistness” as a superpower would be pretty useless if you couldn’t freeze, heat up, or explode at the same time, and then it might just be more annoying than scary or awe-inspiring.

Soon, the library will also be full of talk of supers for summer reading, so I’m getting ready for that, too. I’ve made superhero avatars and minions. (See www.cpbherofactory.com and www.vordak.com/minion-maker.html to make your own.) I’ve got my cape reaminiondy.  Really. I own a cape. But that’s a story for another day.

So, I have been thinking about superhero fiction. Thanks to my resident expert and an eclectic bookshelf, here are a few to consider for your summer reading. I’ve put those that seem to work better for younger readers at the top and those for older kids and teens later on.

Flora and Ulysses – Kate DiCamillo… An ordinary squirrel gains special powers after an encounter with a vacuum. Amazing!

Almost Super and Searching for Super – Marion Jensen… Two brothers from a superhero family realize their powers are duds. Sound familiar?

Sidekicked and Minion – John David Anderson… What if your family expected you to become a sidekick or a minion?

The Girl Who Could Fly – Victoria Forester… People close to home thinks she’s weird, but then Piper is sent to a special school for kids with exceptional abilities, which turns out to be even more exceptional than expected.

Savvy and Scumble – Ingrid Law… On turning 13, you receive your special power, your “savvy,” and then things go a little nuts.

Vordak the Incomprehensible series – Scott Seegert… “Greetings, inferior one!” is just the beginning of the fun. You will laugh and laugh some more. (The author also has a fun website – mentioned above – at www.vordak.com )

Sidekicks – Dan Santat Captain Amazing needs some help. His pets try to step up in this graphic novel.

El Deafo – Cece Bell… A graphic memoir about the author’s journey through hearing loss to becoming her own superhero.

Powerless, Super, and Villainous – Matthew Cody… In a town of supers, what do you do if you’re a “regular” kid?

Joshua Dread series – Lee Bacon… Superhero summer camp for a kid whose parents are supervillains?

Evil Genius series – Catherine Jinks… A child prodigy and hacker finds out his true identity after going to an advanced crime academy.

V is for Villain – Peter Moore… What will happen when you find out the truth about superheroes?

Archvillain, Mad Mask and Yesterday Again – Barry Lyga… Kyle knows Mighty Mike’s secret. Is it one he can keep?

The Zodiac Legacy series– Stan Lee, Andie Tong, Stuart Moore… 12 teens take on superpowers found in the Chinese zodiac. Convergence is the 1st book in the series.

Quantum Prophecy and Super Human series – Michael Carroll… All of the supers vanished ten years ago. What will happen when teens begin to show superpowers now?


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