New Superhero Fiction Releases (April 2018)

Hiya, super readers. April has given us new books by some big names in the superhero fiction genre, plus exciting stuff from brand new voices. I want to make a pun here about April showers bringing not May flowers but superpowers, but that’s probably too corny. Let me know what you think about these books (and my terrible jokes) in the comments!

As always, I haven’t read all of these novels personally, so please check out the reviews and samples before purchasing. Happy reading!

Recursion (Wearing the Cape Book 7)

by Marion J. Harmon

Recursion Cover

It’s been just weeks since the state funeral for the Sentinels, Atlas, Ajax, and Nimbus, lost in the Whittier Base Attack. Astra, Hope, is recovered from her own injuries. At least physically. Mentally . . . not so much, but she feels ready to actively wear the cape again. Which is good since, between the revelation of her short-lived relationship with Atlas (nine years her senior) and her virally pungent public comments on the current political debate over breakthrough registration (the National Public Safety Act), she needs to raise her profile. But she’s better now, steady, ready for anything.

Or is she? First her quantum-ghost BF Shell reveals that something’s off. Hope’s CHANGED. Unaccountably and impossibly changed, she’s not the Hope she was even just last week. Confronted with Shell’s evidence, Hope recovers an impossible memory and follows it to the realization that she’s really not the Hope of last week. She remembers three years of memories of a life she hasn’t lived yet. She remembers the fight with Villains Inc., the addition of the Young Sentinels, her adventures in Littletone, Japan, and across a dozen extrarealities. The one thing she doesn’t remember is how she got here.

How did she get here? WHERE is here?

Worse, things here are already starting to happen differently. Is her presence here messing things up? Or is she supposed to fix something already messed up? And what does Kitsune have to do with everything?

Midnight Strikes: A Meta Superhero Story

by Tom Reynolds

Midnight Strikes Cover

The prequel to Tom Reynolds’ hit Meta superhero novel series is finally here.

The world is still reeling from the devastation of the final battle between the world’s strongest metahumans. Empire City has been left in shambles as it struggles to rebuild. Overnight, the world’s metabands, mysterious bracelets that offer their owner’s superhuman powers and abilities, have all ceased working. Guilt ridden over his possible hand in all of this, the masked vigilante Midnight has hung up his cowl. Continue reading New Superhero Fiction Releases (April 2018)

Turn Back the Pages: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Squirrel Girl Cover

Life is rough.

I get it. There are bills piling up, work deadlines to meet, and God only knows what’s going on in politics. Sometimes, you just need a break. Sometimes, you need something silly and fun to distract you. Sometimes, you need Squirrel Girl.

I feel like if Marvel had tried to make Squirrel Girl relevant a decade ago, they would have given her a grim and gritty reboot complete with a traumatic backstory and skimpy costume. But that’s not the case with The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson. It doesn’t just take the silliness of her premise and run with it—it straps on rocket-powered boots and blasts off with it at supersonic speeds. Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

Turn Back the Pages: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Delilah Dirk Cover

I seem to be reading and writing a lot about ladies with swords lately. That’s not a problem, just an observation.

The latest swordswoman I want to share with you is Delilah Dirk, early 19th century adventurer and troublemaker. She’s been traveling the world from a young age, learning all sorts of useful skills like archery, acrobatics, and no less than 47 sword-fighting techniques. When our story begins, she finds herself in Constantinople, and that’s where she meets the Turkish lieutenant, Erdemoglu Selim: Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant

Turn Back the Pages: Girl Genius

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Girl Genius Volume 1 Cover

Adventure! Romance! Mad Science!

That’s the tagline of Girl Genius, and the comic doesn’t fail to deliver. Read it, and you’ll get heroine Agatha Heterodyne’s adventures through a strange and dangerous alternate version of Europe where steampunk technology has run wild. She encounters a cast of quirky, memorable characters (half of whom are mad scientists or creations of mad scientists, and most of whom want to kill and/or use her) and finds romance along the way, though all of her relationships are “complicated,” to say the least.

By Phil and Kaja Foglio, Girl Genius describes itself as a gaslamp fantasy, but I’m pretty sure that’s just because it’s been around since before steampunk was a thing. You don’t get more steampunk than this. It’s got everything from clockwork ladies…

Clockwork Lady Image

To airship cities… Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Girl Genius

Turn Back the Pages: Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Lady Sabre Image

When was the last time you read some good old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure? It’s probably been too long, right? Well, brush up on your sword-fighting skills, because today we’re diving into Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether.

Here are just a few things you’ll find in the pages of Lady Sabre: airship pirates, steampunk robots, stone-cold cowboys, and tons of sword duels. Now, just because you throw a bunch of cool things into a comic, that doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to have a good story. But Lady Sabre combines these elements into an epic steampunk adventure. And it does it with style.

Airship Image
Pictured: Style

I’d say there are two main characters despite only one being mentioned in the title. The first, of course, is the lady herself, and to quote her own introduction:

“Name’s Sabre, Lady Seneca Sabre… Fourteenth Marchioness of Cascadia, Captain of Pegasus, muse of Darent Found, and a host of other titles that would probably bore you to tears if I recite them, which I shan’t, as I’ve recited enough.” Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether

Turn Back the Pages: Empowered

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Empowered Cover

Superheroes are sexy.

That’s not news to anyone. The tight spandex. The peak physical fitness. The contractually-obligated shirtless scene in every Marvel movie:

Shirtless Cap Gif

But for the longest time, comic book publishers seemed to think that “sexy” equaled a superheroine in an impractical costume twisted in a weird position to put both her boobs and butt on display. Combine that with some truly unfortunate storylines and shallow characterization, and it’s no wonder comics sometimes get a bad reputation for their treatment of female characters.

On paper, Empowered would seem like one of the worst examples of this. Its main character, the superheroine Empowered, gets her extraordinary abilities from her costume—a ridiculously sheer bodysuit that doesn’t hide anything. It also gets ripped in battle a lot, which not only exposes her but leaves her powerless. And so she regularly ends up captured by supervillains and put in bondage.

Sounds terrible, right?

But it’s actually incredibly well-done, and can be sexy, hilarious, and at times, tragic. Honestly, there’s nothing else like it in superhero media. Here’s what makes it so good: Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Empowered

Turn Back the Pages: Young Avengers

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Young Avengers Cover

Superheroes save the world. Thanks goodness they’re around, or we’d all be dead, right? But the thing is, sometimes superheroes save us from a threat they created in the first place, and if it weren’t for the hero, we’d all be fine.

Think Avengers: Age of Ultron. Nice job inventing a killer robot, Iron Man.

This is what kicks off the plot in Young Avengers: Style > Substance. Billy Kaplan, formerly the teen hero Wiccan, uses his incredibly strong yet untrained magical powers to bring his boyfriend Teddy’s mother back from the dead, and he pulls it off with no negative consequences whatsoever.

Just kidding. There are awful, horrifying consequences. As Kid Loki puts it, it’s “terribad.” Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Young Avengers