#10: Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

Found that bizarre name: Miss Lonelyhearts Stomps a Child 5K. I know there was another post somewhere that stated when it would start and specified the 400+ page rule, but I can't find it. Cannonball Read: #10: Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman I'm not a big comic book fan. I'll enjoy the occasional superhero film (like Iron Man or Spiderman 2) or television series (original Fox X-Men animated series, please come out on DVD; I wish to enjoy the Phoenix arc again). But the comic books left me cold. Sure, I've been slowly making a turn on graphic novels, but there's a distinct disconnect between comic books and me. That isn't to say I don't enjoy superheros. I love reading the back stories of superheros online. I really get into play by play analysis of what happens in 'x' issue of 'y' superhero. Which is partly why Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible is so appealing to me. It provides two separate, concurrent narratives leading to an inevitable confrontation between supervillain Dr. Impossible and reluctant superhero Fatale. Turns out The Champions need a new member after their most famous member CoreFire disappeared, and Fatale is the odds on favorite for a replacement; of course, The Champions are convinced that the disappearance is the fault of Dr. Impossible, CoreFire's arch nemesis. Too bad Dr. Impossible doesn't know what happened either. The best moments in this book are elements of back story and direct conflict. Grossman tries to bring in interest for superheros as everyday people moments, but they fall flat more often than not. Considering Grossman "specializes in Romantic and Victorian literature," it's no surprise that he would want to show every aspect of every life that appears in the book. That aesthetic really elevates the novel, but also detracts when everyday occurrences slow down the book. Lesson learned: now I understand why so many people do not like Dickens and the ultra-Realist style. Not everyone wants to read about the back story of the woman who was buying a loaf of bread at a corner stand, the same way I really didn't care one way or the other about the dating habits of superheros. I will say the other big weakness is how different the two narratives are. While I enjoyed the entire novel, I found myself really plowing through the Fatale sections to get to the far greater Dr. Impossible sequences. Dr. Impossible seems far more developed as a character. That does make sense. He's been doing the supervillainy for years, while Fatale is still struggling to understand why she had to become what she is. Unlike Dr. Impossible's super intelligence by birth, Fatale only became a hero after a horrific accident left her no chance for recovering short of becoming a cyborg. She wouldn't be as developed a hero, but even her slice of life scenes fall flat. The highlight of the novel for me on a second read is still Elphin, the Knight of Titania. Grossman never reveals whether or not Elphin actually is a fairy. Her period dialect and speech patterns bring me nothing but joy, and her abilities make me smile. If a real superhero could spawn from this novel, I would hope it to be Elphin. I'd even read an Elphin comic book series. Soon I Will Be Invincible is a fun read. It's not the most challenging book in the world, nor is that the intention. It's enjoyable. Sometimes that's enough.

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