BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Jacob Curtiss, 15-year-old orphan in a futuristic Melbourne (the last city on Earth), finds his way to the virtual world of Heropa. There he becomes Southern Cross, a Cape ready to live out his fantasies, but instead finds himself in a just-as-harsh world, where he has to track down the people responsible for the string of superhero murders.
PROS: Campy fun; over-the-top banter and superhero identities; a highly stylized retro-futuristic world; clever subversion of the heroic narrative; pop culture references galore
CONS: Pacing suffers throughout the book, resulting in initial disorientation; a heavy emphasis on bickering, which steals away the opportunity of deeper characterization and developing of the conceptual aspects in the world.
BOTTOM LINE: A light adventure with a bit of KAPOW and a heavy dose of sardonic sarcasm guaranteed to give you a case of the nostalgia for the good, old innocent days of comic books where things were neat, clean and proper.
With comic book icons jumping across the multiplex cinema screens, it’s hard not to be involved in the superhero hype, which has been successfully crossing over from colourful panels to novels and short fiction. With Adam Christopher’s Empire State, Seven Wonders and The Age Atomic as well as Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories edited by Claude Lalumière & Camille Alexa as most recent examples, it’s no wonder more people would examine the superhero narrative and myth, which leads us to Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, a novel by Australian author Andrez Bergen.