Powerless: A Superhero Novel: Volume 1 by Tony Cooper (book review).

May 29, 2019 | By | Reply More

Despite the rise in the number of novels and stories involving supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves and angels, there is still a fascination for the super-hero. I am sure there is no-one who has not wished at some time or another to have some power that is unique to us. That power may be extra-terrestrial in origin or due to a genetic mutation.

The problem with having super-powers more widely available is that people would still be people. While there are some who would want to use their powers only to help others, there are always some who are selfish. For every super-hero, there is a super-villain. The problem with battles between the two is the swathe of destruction left behind.

In ‘Powerless’, Tony Cooper envisages a world where having a power is much more common. Colloquially, those with them are referred to as Heroes, whichever side they are on. Martin Molloy is a Hero. Known as Roadblock, he is stronger than average and can soak up a lot of punishment. He belonged to a team known as the Pulse, headed by Jack Pullman. That was eighteen years ago.

Fed up with all the destruction, the government has passed a law that makes it mandatory for all those with powers to register and they cannot use their powers unless their job requires their talent. Martin did not register, living under the radar and taking lowly jobs. Currently, he is a night security man at a shopping mall. He is happy to live under the radar until his friend, Vincent, the only one he has kept in contact with since his Hero days, is murdered.

This novel is told in alternating chapters. One section in first person, from Martin’s viewpoint, follows the events in 1993 when the Pulse team were at their best and their meeting with someone who could control multiple minds. Since he did it for the pleasure of mayhem, the Controller’s manipulations lead to the break-up of the team. The other part of the novel is set in 2012 and for the most part is third person with Martin as the focal character.

This deals with the consequences of Vincent’s death and the subsequent attack on him. Vincent had given Martin a copy of his memoirs, telling him that only he could unlock it. Someone doesn’t want him to read them. As both stories unfold, Martin and the reader discover the consequences that link the two.

On the whole, the plot and characterisation are well-handled. Initially, when the powers began to manifest, the Heroes, as in the comicbooks, donned costumes and either fought evil or carried it out. Once they were registered and regulated, it is not surprising that some went underground. Once again, Heroes keep their identities secret.

My main issues with this book is the production. It lacks a proper title page or copyright page and I would have liked a little something about the author. Proof reading is not perfect but, at least, the cover artist, Harry Corr, is credited. This is a rare thing, a self-published book that is worth reading.

Pauline Morgan

My 2019

(pub: CreateSpace, 2015. 537 page paperback. Price: £16.99. ISBN: 978-1-50231-801-5)

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Category: Books, Superheroes

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