Super is the first novel of (so-far) three books and multiple short stories. It depicts a world where certain people have fallen into a coma and emerge with superhuman powers — able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and all that.
An action adventure, Super starts with not-so-mild-mannered Zita Garcia on a blind date which goes bad quickly. We are introduced to Zita and discover she’s quite a handful to people who break the law. After Zita emerges from her coma, still powerless, she finds she and her companions are all stuck in a locked-down medical facility. While the world outside is starting to adjust to living with superheroes, Zita’s world is all about getting out of this “jail” to continue her extreme sports activities. Unfortunately, villains have designs on the people in the institution and one night, all hell breaks loose.
Without giving too much away, Zita discovers her powers and becomes involved in a kidnapping case. She doesn’t seek out justice, but finds herself often in situations where she must use her powers against evil-doers, both human and superhuman. I won’t reveal her abilities–as that would be spoilerific–other than to say she has multiple gifts and her primary power is quite creative.
While there are actions scenes aplenty, the characters also have time to themselves to interact and learn their new abilities. The plot engaged me from chapter one and I never wanted to put it down. Despite her abrasive nature, I enjoyed Zita’s personality and found it a refreshing change from the modern “dark” hero or the “I regret having any powers” anti-hero. While Zita doesn’t decide to become a crime fighter, she consistently makes moral choices in dangerous situations — always the true test of a hero. This made me root for her through the novel.
I’ve read a lot of comic books and graphic novels so superhero origin stories aren’t anything new to me, but I enjoyed the playful way Zita’s origin story was told. I liked how she and other characters had to learn their powers and how and where she exercised them. I also found Zita’s arc in the story interesting. And while I think others may want her to go from less snippy to more heroic, I’m glad she didn’t. It gave her an edge and makes her unique among other people in tights.
The story’s narrative style is difficult to follow at points and it took me a while to get into the flow, but eventually I got it. The plot and characters carried me over the rough spots, but you may want to read the first chapter to get a sense of the book. I think others may have wanted to dig deeper into Zita, but there’s so much going on in this novel, I’m happy to leave that for a future offering.
This novel exudes fun. It’s a positive take on the superhero genre, and it hits all the required sequences you would expect. Overall, I’m glad I picked up Super.