This time around I’ve been reading am anthology of superhero stories. Overall, I thought it was a good collection of stories, even if I didn’t exactly enjoy all of them. Below are my reviews of the different stories contained in this collection.
“Geek Gurl Rising” by Chris Pourteau was interesting. It was about a girl named Carrie Conrad who had recently started attending a new school and was being bullied by the popular crowd. Her only real friend was the school Librarian who was the only person who took the time to get to know and appreciate her. Then one afternoon someone comes into the school with a gun and takes him hostage. During the crisis, Carrie discovers that she has super powers and is the only one who can save everyone. I found it an interesting story, but it felt a bit contrived to me.
“Anna” by Patricia Gilliam had potential. Unfortunately, as it was set in a world that was clearly part of another series, trying to read it left left me feeling rather lost. Had I read any of the previously written books in the series, I’m sure I would have really enjoyed it. It’s too bad really, since the beginning of the story involved a woman trying to disarm a bomb that was set to explode in 3 minutes. A dramatic beginning to be sure, but one that was lost on me as what followed left me feeling as if I were missing some important background information.
“The Roach Rises” by Rhett C. Bruno was probably one of my favorites in this book. This story starts off with a paralyzed ex-vigilante who is considering ending his life when he hears someone calling for help. Unable to resist, he does his best to help the teen who is being beaten up by two older teens. Not entirely successful, he returns to his home to drink away his pain. I really don’t want to give away too much of this story, but suffice it to stay that the ending made me tear up and almost want to cry. If you read none of the the others in this anthology, please give this one a chance. It was well worth it!
“The Paladin” by Kevin G Summers. I enjoyed this one. It’s about a teenage boy whose older brother started using drugs and was murdered in their own home. The boy takes it upon himself to find and make those responsible pay (Batman style). The problem being that it’s a lot more dangerous being a vigilante than he first thought. Even if he succeeds, will that make him as bad or even worse than those he was seeking vengeance upon?
“Cleanview” by Hall & Beaulieu. I really enjoyed this one. A Janitor who is just going about his daily job runs into one of the Superheroes protecting the world. The superhero seems distracted, but then seems to want to talk. His day had been really rough, and even though he saved a lot of people, many others had died. I really enjoyed the conversation that took place between the two of them as well as the effect that conversation had upon them both.
“Photo Op” by Christopher J. Valid. I didn't enjoy this story as much as I did some of the others in this anthology. It starts out with our hero in a fight with a villain. During the fight someone takes his picture. The hero then spends the rest of the story trying to find a way to permanently get rid of that photo so that his secret identity wouldn't be revealed. He was so obsessed with doing so that he was extremely distracted throughout the entire story, and I found a distracted hero less interesting.
“Mercurial” by Alexa Purdy. This one was also interesting. It seems to question whether or not those who have misused their powers can be rehabilitated. I liked it.
“One Last Time” by Andy Peloquin. This story was a bit darker, but I really enjoyed it. It explores what happens when someone wins a lottery and is given super powers for a limited time. Will he be the good guy? Or will he stray and start enjoying the things that he could never afford before he gained those powers? And what happens when the time limit on his powers ends and he must return to being a normal, everyday human being again? I liked this one as it really makes you think about whether or not winning those powers really was a good thing.
“Hero Worship” by Josh Hayes. I don’t want to say much about this one, as I’m afraid I would give away the ending. But I do recommend reading it. It’s got a really good twist to the story that I didn’t see coming.
“An Ordinary Hero: A Pantheon Short” by C.C. Ekeke. This was a very sweet little story. It takes place on a man’s 4th anniversary with his superhero wife. If I say anything more about it, I would wind up spoiling the ending for you, but it is a good story.
“The Spotlight” by Jeffrey Beesler. I’m really not sure what I think about this one. There doesn’t seem to be much of a reason for the bad things that happen in this story. It definitely left me feeling somewhat cheated. It’s not a bad story, but the reasoning behind what happens seems to have been left out. The ending almost makes up for it, but it still left me wanting something more.
“Fade” by Josi Russell. This was another very interesting story. The main character isn’t your typical superhero: she can’t fly, she’s not strong, she’s not invulnerable, nor can she turn invisible. What she can do is see when people nearby are going to die. If they’re good people or are dying too young and she feels they deserve a second chance, she will bring them back from death if she gets to them soon enough. Then one day, she meets a man who has been killing some of those she was later healing. He’s not happy that she’s been undoing all of his “work” and has come to do something about it.
If you like superhero stories, I hope you’ll consider at least taking a look at this anthology. While I may not have enjoyed all of stories in this one, I did enjoy more of them than I disliked.