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Customer Review

on 16 July 2008
Grossman very carefully avoids parody or mockery of the superhero genre itself, or of its central tropes. This is a good thing. Instead he gives us a psychoanalasys of the stock characters. What drives a man to turn his genius to evil?

The story's two lead characters, Doctor Impossible (Villain) and Fatale (Heroine) are wonderfully self-aware and often second guess their own motivations. The former, having been imprisoned twelve times for twelve different world-domination schemes seems in little doubt that he will fail again. In fact, he seems to take it for granted while still lying to himself - surely, this time he must win? No, and he knows it. Doctor Impossible does what he does simply because he must. He at once strives to live up to society's expectations of a supervillain, while at the same time belittling those expectations.

Fatale, the cyborg superheroine protagonist exists in a state of uncertainty between the paragons of the superheroing golden age and her self-defined rust age reality. She doesn't seem to believe that either is real, but they're all she has to define her world. Again, the character lies to herself while fully acknowledging the facts.

This is one of those rare books that's precisely as deep as the reader wishes - it can be a throwaway pulp adventure story or a thought-provoking study of satre-esque philosophy.
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