Today I am pulling out one of the books I’ve reviewed in the past. One of my favorite, almost anime-style books is by indie author, Jim Bernheimer. Published in 2011, Confessions of a D-List Supervillain hits all the marks as a sometime hilarious read that makes you go hmmm….
“Being a supervillain means never having to say you’re sorry … Unless it’s to the judge or the parole board. Even then, you don’t really have to. It’s not like it’s going to change the outcome or anything.”
Those are the words of Calvin Matthew Stringel, better known as Mechani-Cal. He’s a sarcastic, down on his luck armored villain. Follow his exploits as he gets swept up in a world domination scheme gone wrong and ends up working for this weak willed, mercy loving heroes. Immerse yourself in his epic battles and see what it’s like to be an outsider looking in at a world that few have ever experienced.
Climb into Cal’s battlesuit and join him on his journey. Will he avoid selling out his principles for a paycheck and a pardon? Can he resist the camaraderie of being on a super team? Does he fall prey to the ample charms of the beautiful Olympian Aphrodite? How will he survive the jealous schemes of Ultraweapon, who wears armor so powerful it makes Cal’s look like a museum piece?
See the world of “righteous do-gooders" through the eyes of someone who doesn’t particularly care for them.
And remember - Losing an argument with a group of rioters isn’t a good excuse to start lobbing tear gas indiscriminately at them. You’ve only got so many rounds and it’s going to be a long day, so make sure you get as many as possible with each one.
I enjoyed this take on the age-old hero vs villain story. Bernheimer has created a dystopian world where mankind relies on superheroes to save them, and the most popular superheroes are The Olympians - 12 common people who were chosen to wield the powers of certain of the Gods of Olympus.
Conversely there are the supervillains, and Cal `Mechani-Cal' Stringel is, by his own assertion, not one of the more successful of them, but he gets by.
The world has been taken over by bugs the size of grasshoppers that have attached themselves to everyone's necks, reorganizing the world into a hive society of junkies addicted to the bugs in the desperate way that a junkie is addicted to heroin. Because he works inside of his mechanical suit, Cal has managed to avoid this fate. Out of necessity, he finds himself trying to get the `good-guys' back on their feet and back to saving the world like they are supposed to be doing.
As superheroes go, The Olympians are as unlikeable and evil a bunch of shallow, self-serving stars as you could ask for. The supervillains, on the other hand, are actually the better human beings, because they are honest about their motives.
I don't normally like first person, present tense point of view in a story, because I find it difficult to get into into the story. But once I got past that initial issue I have to admit, this story captured and held my interest.
The adventures that Cal has as he tries to re-hab the Olympians and save the world are quite entertaining. There are some adult themes, but though there is nothing graphic I recommend this as a fun adult read.