Soon I Will be Invincible by Austin Grossman, a review

Austin Grossman’s debut novel is as spectacular as it’s subject and characters. Tackling the much maligned genre of comic super heroes, Grossman eschews the over the top action, thin to non existent story lines, and bad dialog that seem to hamper the genre. He has approached his subject seriously, putting the focus on the people rather than their powers. Assuming all the assorted tropes that every long running comic uses (other dimensions, time travel, magic, etc., etc., etc. ) to extend its life and make some small sense of their convoluted, contradictory stories, he creates a believable world. The book is populated by even more believable characters, characters with body image, self-esteem and assorted other issues. No “whams”, “biffs”, or “kapows” can be found in the pages of the book. Instead he emphasizes the very real problems of alienation, solitude, and being an outsider. Taking a look at the psychology of his characters as opposed to their super physiology. A look that I found both fascinating and compelling.

The story centers on two characters: long time super villain, Dr. Impossible and a brand new super hero, Fatale. Impossible has broken out of super prison again and immediately puts into action his latest plan for world domination. Fatale, a cyborg and former NSA assassin, has recently joined the world’s premiere super hero team. Her new team was that put Impossible into prison. The story revolves around these two characters and builds to the conclusion one imagines when thinking of comic books. A secluded island fortress bristling with the latest and deadliest technology,and a team of super heroes assaulting it. A violent conflict ensues with Impossible facing down the super team. This, though is not the point. Grossman uses the settings and super hero trappings merely as dressing. Dressing for a much richer and meatier exploration of what it means to be alienated. Remember back to your middle school or high school years, were you part of the in crowd? Were you one of those people who everyone was vying to sit with at lunch, hang out with after school, or even just be somewhat associated with in any way? It is likely you were not, even if you were I know you were troubled about just where you fit into things and how. This is the bulk of Grossman’s book. Exploring the emotions and feelings of alienation and being an outsider. What strange alchemical reaction turns some kids into ‘winners’ and others into ‘losers’? What damage does this do to their psyches? How long can it last? Most of us outgrow the sense of alienation or rejection we sensed in high school and earlier and at times the characters can appear juvenile for their continued existence in a world that largely ends once the growth spurts stop. But, perhaps this is more subtle commentary by Grossman, comics it seems have never grown up, nor have the characters that populate their pages. Perhaps those of us who reading them have yet to as well…

If you’re interested in checking it go to your local library, bookstore or check it out here at amazon. Mr. Grossman’s website can be found here.

Author: Jonathon

Would rather be out swimming, running, or camping. Works in state government. Spent a youth reading genre-fiction; today, he is making up for it by reading large quantities of non-fiction literature. The fact that truth, in every way, is more fascinating than fiction still tickles him.

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