I wish 1/2 star ratings were available because I'd really prefer to give this book 4.5 stars instead of 4.
There is a lot that works in this book and a few things that miss the mark somewhat but on the whole it is a solid effort and easily one of the better entries in the genre.
Basic Plot Summary (Spoiler Free):
The West Pacific Supers (WPS) are a group of officially sanctioned heroes based in the fictional city of West Pacific, California. The WPS is shaken by the sudden loss of several of its members in a surprise attack aimed at its senior and most powerful heroes but must pull together to find those responsible and bring them to justice. At the same time, the team is investigating the theft of explosives so potent they rival that of a nuclear weapon. Meanwhile, the WPS must recruit new members to rebuild its strength and standing in the eyes of the public. The team receives some help from vigilantes, non-sanctioned heroes, who provide timely intelligence from the streets and badly needed backup when they're needed most. Time is running out for the heroes to find and recover the explosives before the villains responsible use them for purposes unknown.
Surprisingly, this merely provides the backdrop for the meat of the novel. The book is really more concerned with the heroes themselves and their personal trials and tribulations. The primary characters here are Cosmic Kid, a newly recruited teen hero, Blue Star, an older hero pulled out of semi-retirement to lend the shaken team a steady and experienced hand, Camille, a one-time West Pacific Super lured out of retirement, and Seawolf, a veteran WPS member who struggles as much with the outward manifestation of her power as she does with the villains she fights. Although these are the core characters that the novel follows, there is a well developed set of secondary characters from the Vigilantes (Truthfinder, The Goalie, Midnight, Whisperer, White Knight, Cupid, and Samurai) to the support staff of the WPS.
The world of the West Pacific Supers is a place where superheroes have been elevated to the level of fame of sports figures and movie stars in our world. They have fan clubs, agents who negotiate contracts and endorsements, and PR people to plan their 'product placement.' This extends to the teams such as the WPS. Younger heroes start in Teen groups (farm leagues) and go through a draft and ranking process that determines their place in the big leagues. The super teams are also ranked based on the foes they've vanquished, property damaged prevented (or allowed/caused), and the casualties they take each 'season'.
This sounds somewhat hokey but it is played straight and it works. The main characters are all likeable but each is flawed or limited in some way that makes them more real and relatable. The novel's focus is squarely on the heroes and the plot takes a definite backseat to character development. There is a lot of room for additional novels in this universe. The author teases us with bits and pieces of the alternate history of this world and there are a lot of characters introduced that appear only briefly.
That said, the story isn't without some weaknesses. As mentioned by other reviewers, the author decides to tell rather than show a major event and completely skips the aftermath with the hand waving of "Months later..." This may have been an effort to shorten a relatively long book but it has the effect of diluting the impact of the team's failure to stop a particular event. Also, the villains, with the exception of Dr. B and the final villain, are fairly one-dimensional and forgettable.
These are relatively minor nitpicks, however, and the the novel as whole is an engrossing and entertaining read.