Review: Confessions of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer

Exploding from the pages of Horror, Humor, and Heroes Volume One – it’s the full length adventures of the one and only Mechani-Cal! So grab your battlesuit and prepare to get a little nasty. “Being a supervillain means never having to say you’re sorry … Unless it’s to the judge or the parole board. Even then, you don’t really have to. It’s not like it’s going to change the outcome or anything.” Those are the words of Calvin Matthew Stringel, better known as Mechani-Cal. He’s a down on his luck armored villain. Follow his exploits as he gets swept up in a world domination scheme gone wrong and ends up working for these weak willed, mercy loving heroes. Immerse yourself in epic battles and see what it’s like to be an outsider looking in at a world that few have ever experienced. Climb into Cal’s battlesuit and join him on his journey. Will he avoid selling out his principles for a paycheck and a pardon? Can he resist the camaraderie of being on a super team? Does he fall prey to the ample charms of the beautiful Olympian Aphrodite? How will he survive the jealous schemes of Ultraweapon, who wears armor so powerful it makes Cal’s look like a museum piece? See the world of “righteous do-gooders” through the eyes of someone who doesn’t particularly care for them … Revel in his sarcasm and hang on for one wild ride! Just remember – Losing an argument with a group of rioters isn’t a good excuse to start lobbing tear gas indiscriminately at them. You’ve only got so many rounds and it’s going to be a long day, so make sure you get as many as possible with each one.

Review

Calvin tried really hard to make it work. He had a degree and a steady job. He even invented a few things that could make a real difference in the world. It all came crashing down around him, though. Soon, he had no choice but to sit in line waiting for dole-checks, or set out on his own and make some money by robbing banks and dealing in arms. Never really more than a two-bit player in the power games of the great and mighty (both hero and villain alike), Calvin Stringel (AKA Mechani-Cal) never really figured he’d amount to much. It’s not that he wanted to be bad, it’s that he had no choice. Then, everything changed.

Suddenly, he finds himself one of the handful of humans who aren’t enslaved to an enigmatic insect plague, thanks to his armoured suit. Everyone who is infected is out to get him and make him infected, so he figures that he’ll have to find a way to cure the world of the plague infecting it. And, you know, in a good way, not a genocidal way.

Confessions of a D-List Supervillain follows the highs and lows of Calvin’s journey to reformation, pardon, love, friendship and revenge. It is a highly entertaining, action packed romp that doesn’t take itself too seriously at all. Aside from the epic battles and interesting characters, the wide variety of humour used is one of the story’s greatest drawing cards. Everything from sly pop-culture references to black humour is in there for the reader’s enjoyment.

There’s something Dr. Horrible-esque in Confessions of a D-List Supervillain. Readers who enjoyed Joss Wheadon’s supervillain musical will doubtless get a kick from Confessions too. Mechani-Cal’s expose of the private lives of the fraternity of superheros’ backbiting, one-upmanship and general vanity plays is fascinating to read.

While the story is short, the world feels well fleshed out and coherent. There is enough detail given to appreciate the context of the events, but enough is left out that the imagination can take over and fill in the gaps more vividly than a short(ish) story could hope to.

In short, Confessions of a D-List Supervillain is a great quick read. The reading may take only an afternoon or a weekend, but the world and the characters will live on in the imagination long afterwards.

  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Demographic: Adult
  • Rating Out of Five: 5
  • Format: Paperback
  • Find At: The Book Depository
  • Published: April 2011

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