Vigilante superhero tales tend to revolve around seeking justice outside of a failed system, and the idea that one man or woman can cause real change within that system by punching people. In short, they are fantasies, and popular in part because they suggest impossibly simple solutions to complex problems. In Cape, an interactive fiction story created by Bruno Dias for the ongoing Interactive Fiction Competition, you become one of those shadowy figures trying right wrongs in a crime-ridden city. But since wealth inequality lies at the heart of all the problems you encounter, well... let's just say that it's an uphill battle.
You can choose your gender and your nationality, though your options for the latter are limited: Whether you're Kenyan, Vietnamese, Slovenian or Mexican, you're going to be an immigrant, you're going to be poor, and life is going to be hard. You begin your story in a moment of desperation, about to break into a townhouse in a recently gentrified neighborhood to find whatever valuables you can and survive another day.
The story opens with a newspaper clipping that signals the precise flavor of dystopia that awaits. The article details a "passing tax" that will be levied on buildings based on their number of entrances and exits; apparently, suspects trying to evade police drones have been ducking into "passing houses" to escape surveillance, and they'd like to discourage that.
Yes, the watchful digital eyes of a corrupt police state are all around you, co-mingling with the more traditional violence of thieves and gangsters. Read the rest
Jackie Tadeoni Sacha Goldberger created this wonderful series of superheroes (and Snow White!) as subjects of Baroque Flemish portraits. Read the rest
Superhero movies are nothing new (Superman, Batman, Spiderman...) but they began to snowball in 2000, after the success of X-Men. And with the growing trend of comic book box office hits, manic studios are now juggling 51 comic book films, expected to be released between July 2015 to the year 2020. At the front of the queue is next month's Ant-Man, followed by The Fantastic Four on August 7th of this year in the U.S. Others coming up in the next 12 months include Marvel's Deadpool, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Captain America: Civil War. Read the complete list, along with synopses and dates, at Den of Geek. Read the rest
It has been a while since I read a superhero novel. Meta, by Tom Reynolds, was all the fun I expected.
Metas, or superheroes, haven't been seen in 16 years. After the "Big Battle" in which two heroes duked it out and a number of normal people were killed, the Metas simply disappeared. Our protagonist Connor lost his parents that night. Nearly two decades later, Connor does a good deed and wakes up a Meta. He soon finds he is more powerful than any who've come before, and that he is certainly not alone.
Meta is a quick read. Reynolds is just finding his ground and defining his characters, while doing a good job at world-building. I will certainly be picking up the second in this series.