Friday, August 28, 2009

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

I'm so on the fence about this one, it's not even funny. Do I love it? Do I hate it? I'm not sure. I do love the book design though, I'll start on a positive. Take a look at that cover. I dare you not to love it.

This is the story of the infamous villain Doctor Impossible as he plays out another scheme to control the Earth. Odd-numbered chapters are told from his perspective and are absolutely riveting, while even-numbered chapters are told by Fatale, a cyborg superhero on the team that's trying to track him down. Her chapters are flat and boring.

Literary novels like this are like watching train wrecks in SLOW MOTION. I have a feeling that it's not going to have a satisfying ending, just literary claptrap in which we all see how terrible the illness or social issue or dog dying is, but there's no resolution or hope or even much conflict, just exploring the issue. Things take forever to happen and all it is is long internal monologuing about the angst of it all. And yet, you can't look away.

Doctor Impossible was the reason I sat through the boredom. I lived for his chapters. He's the only sympathetic character in the book, and although I think that was the point, it didn't endear me to the other half of the story. Doctor Impossible was witty, intelligent, brave... "Savvy" is the word. He knows the story is going to play out exactly like it always has and nothing's going to change, but he keeps on trying, he never gives up.

All the heroes were boring, flat, and annoying, and it was like pulling teeth just to sit through their scenes. They tried to work up some mystique and suspense, but I just didn't care, with the possible exception of Blackwolf (a Captain Ersatz of Batman, so I had to like him) and Mister Mystic (who got just enough attention to make me want more, but not enough for me to know if I actually liked him.)

The heroes don't do much but complain and fight amongst themselves, but somehow they still beat Doctor Impossible. It's just not fair.

Really, I just don't know. I was frustrated and enrapt for equal parts. If this sounds remotely like something you might potentially be interested in, read it, think about it, let me know what you decide. Most of the reviews I've read really haven't understood what the book was trying to say any more than I did, and some of them are just mistaken. It's not a parody of superhero literature by any means.

Anyway. Read it, read Hero, read Watchmen.

Buy Soon I Will Be Invincible


  1. I loved your review of this book, particularly the part about the "literary claptrap" - I know exactly what you mean! I think I'll pass on this one.

  2. Heh, thanks. Passing is probably a good idea unless you're as mesmerized by superheroes as I am... Sigh.

  3. I definitely plan to check this out. Great blog by the way...and since you mentioned it on my quiz post, I want to know where you are with BATMAN: NO MAN'S LAND (which I loved)!

  4. Cool, I hope you either review it or come back and let me know what you think!

    I finished Volume 1 of No Man's Land, and don't have the other volumes... I thought it was a little odd, actually. I have no idea how realistic declaring the city out of bounds would be, I need to remember to look that up, but mostly I don't care about gang wars. I mean, I CARE, but that's not really what I'm looking for in a Batman comic book. Other than that, I thought it was very good writing and the pacing was excellent. I might do a longer review at some point... I'm still trying to decide how I want to do reviews of graphic novels that don't stand alone.


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