Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Drew Bean is a sidekick-in-training with an absentee Superhero - and now that a deadly villain is bent on revenge, Drew and his friends must step up to save not only the good citizens of Justicia, but themselves.

Drew's powers of enhanced sight, smell, hearing and taste are not exactly combat-ready, which leaves him in plenty of awkward positions. For example: danging above a swimming pool filled with acid beside his best friend, waiting in vain for his assigned superhero to jump into action. Unfortunately, Drew's Super is past his prime and more interested in wallowing than heroics.

There are also the problems of crushing on his best friend Jenna, who happens to moonlight as the powerful Silver Lynx, jealousy over a new rival, surprise math tests, and lying to his parents about his after-school activities with his "environmental" club, H.E.R.O. He wants to do something important with his abilities, but often finds himself feeling helpless and frustrated instead - a position many high school kids can relate to.

The story is fun but predictable for those familiar with the conventions of the superhero genre, but will definitely appeal to comic book readers who want to read about superheroes in other formats. For similar stories of boy wonders struggling with unique powers (or a lack thereof), check out these series:
Evil Genius (Genius #1) by Catherine Jinks - Cadel is studying for his World Domination degree at a most unusual - and dangerous - boarding school full of future villains.
The Hero Revealed (The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy) by William Boniface (middle grade readers) - The only non-powered boy in a town full of supers, Ordinary Boy uses his wits to solve puzzles and defeat crime.

There's a thorough list of superhero fiction for all ages on Goodreads, and several recent movies that mutate the superhuman genre: Sky High (Disney), a live-action movie about the son of two superheroes whose lackluster talents destine him for sidekick work; and The Incredibles (Pixar) about a family of retired supers who face a new threat that draws them from hiding.

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