REVIEW SUMMARY: What do you get when you combine superheroes, neuroses, and self-help books? Don’t answer yet since you also have to mix in some satire and some fantastic characters. The end result of this combination is this book by Minister Faust which was an enjoyable read with an ending that I still find very interesting.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Dr. Eva Brain-Silverman is an author of several self help books for meta humans, and in this book she tackles a group of dysfunctional heroes who are about to be kicked out of the Fraternal Order of Justice (FOOJ). This book documents that journey in psychology.
PROS: The characters and a unique way of presenting the story. Fantastic dialogue and the right amount of action.
CONS: A few too many acronyms (although I think that was intentional) and some of the psychology devolves into babble (again probably intentional).
BOTTOM LINE: A fantastic book that delivers entertainment and more.
This book tells a story of a group of folks who are dealing with change and loss. It does this by first making them super heroes and then injecting them into a self help book. This is all done with a certain amount of humor yet it also has another message there. The basic story involves members of the largest superhero organization who have issues working together. They were identified as being the ones with the biggest psychological problems and were given an ultimatum to work though their problems with Dr. Brain or be dismissed. The story then unfolds through the sessions with Dr. Brain and interactions between the characters. The book flips between the first person view of Dr. Brain during moments of commentary regarding certain characters and the third person when dealing with the characters in the world. The viewpoint shifts work very well and the story is well laid out. It was hard not to read this book and draw comparisions between the heros found within and those seen in comic books and movies. For my own entertainment, I came up with these comparisons:
- The Flying Squirrel – Festus Pildown III which represents the Batman type of avenger character
- Omnipotent Man – An alien who comes to earth as a child and grows up in a very rural area, with a lot of drawl. He is the Superman character.
- Iron Lass – Hnossi Ice, A valkarie from Asgard and very much a Wonder Woman gone Norse sort of character
- Brotherfly – A spiderman type of character who is more like a fly than a spider and quite the ladies man
- X-man – A very angry young man with powers similar to the Green Lantern
- Power Grrl – This was the hardest one to pidgeon hole since she was more of a caricature of our current young divas who all the entertainment shows feel we need details about. I was unable to draw a correlation to a comic book character.
Now these comparisons do not help when the characters interact, and that is one area where this book absolutely shines. Mr. Faust can write some fantastic dialogue and this book has plenty of that. I really felt that he was able to mold the vision of the characters by the words they spoke and the situations they were placed in. Furthermore, the book has an excellent mix of action and excitement to go with the interactions between all the characters. I would also say that Dr. Eva Brain-Silverman is a great character and her nine stages of grief was just fantastic.
If I had to say bad things about the story, it would probably be regarding the use of acronyms and psychology terms. In both cases, this was probably intentional due to the content and subject matter, but at times I felt that it detracted slightly from the story. These are minor nits and nothing that should scare away potential readers.
In the final analysis, this book is a great read for anybody who grew up reading comic books and wish to see superheros acting like real people. The ending alone is fantastic, and I have to say that Minster Faust is a fantastic writer. I have a desire now to read his other book, The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad.