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Prepare to Die!

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  476 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
Nine years ago, Steve Clarke was just a teenage boy in love with the girl of his dreams. Then a freak chemical spill transformed him into Reaver, the man whose super-powerful fists can literally take a year off a bad guy's life.
Days ago, he found himself at the mercy of his arch-nemesis Octagon and a whole crew of fiendish super-villains, who gave him two weeks to settle
ebook, 350 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Night Shade Books (first published June 1st 2012)
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Originally reviewed at Kirkus

I admit I have a fascination for stories about superhumans and I’m always on the lookout for new novels featuring super-powered characters. This fascination stems from all the potential inherent in such stories, from examining the roles super-powered people might play in human society to the effect that super-powers can have on one’s psyche—a great example of the latter is the ongoing Extrahuman Series by Susan Jane Bigelow. Of course, navigating this subgenre of SFF
I just started this book, but I already have some issues with it. I want to be very clear, I LOVE what I've read of Paul Tobin's comics (Marvel Adventures, Spider-Girl) and the books he's done with Colleen Coover (Gingerbread Girl, Banana Sunday). The characters are dynamic and the action is zippy and fun. So I was really looking forward to this novel to get a sense of what Paul Tobin can write for adults.

On the very first page, he alienated me with the following description of a woman as "too o
I really enjoyed this book. Unlike most people, I always thought that being a superhero would be a horrible job. Who wants to fight all of the time and be a target all of the time? So that perspective naturally fed into the approach this author took to projecting a (somewhat) realistic idea of what being a hero would really mean, with a lot of sad and dirty details in the mix. When we meet our hero he's done, beaten, worn down and just done with it all, and then we get to go back and try to figu ...more
Aug 23, 2012 Rose marked it as tried-to-read  ·  review of another edition
I usually try to make it more then a chapter and a half before giving up on a book -- particularly a book about superheroes, particularly a book about a superhero with such an inventive superpower. (Get hit by the Reaver, and you lose one year off your life.) But, despite the fact that author Paul Tobin has written GNs before, this is Tobin's first prose novel, and he breaks several rules: no info-dumping, no having your first-person narrator describe himself because he's looking in a mirror, pi ...more
William Thomas
Note: This is not a comic book or a graphic novel.

I've been reading comics since I was 8 years old, so that's a 22 year love affair with America's greatest art form. (Sorry jazz). In that time, I've heard all of the intellectual, faux-intellectual and unintelligible arguments surrounding the medium. I think in the last 15 years, we've won the war against the intelligentsia who claim comics are lowest common denominator. Books like Maus, Sandman, Love and Rockets, The Invisibles, Strangers in Par
Jul 11, 2012 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Women in this universe are motivated primarily by sex. Sure, you expect that from Laura, the sexy horny promiscuous frequently topless lesbian (and yes, that's an ACTUAL character), but every female character is just biding her time until she can make herself sexually available to the hero, or at least tease him a little. So that's obnoxious.

The concept was intriguing to me, but the execution lacked. Frequent flashbacks can work, but they need to be more skillfully managed than they are here. A
This book was so good, I read it 3x faster than a normal human being.

Full review here:

Mar 23, 2014 AudioBookReviewer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My full Prepare to Die review can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

So within the first hour I was hooked and hate to admit this but there was a line that really rang true to me and, hopefully, many other guys.

"I allowed myself a shower piss, one of man's greatest pleasures, if women could see us pissing in the showers the way we're not bothered by it running down our legs, I'm not sure if they'd ever sleep with us again."

After that line I was all in and had to find out more about Reaver and the ci
4.5 out 5 punches to the face.

I started this yesterday afternoon and finished it today. That in itself is a recommendation.

This book isn't brilliant but it *is* really fucking good. You can think of it like a Marvel Max with the adult themes and sex talk and Rated-M-for-Mature attitude. It's definitely lewd and crude, but Tobin doesn't do it to be shocking; rather, it's just the way some of these characters behave. I do wonder if some people might see some misogyny in parts of the book, but the
Mar 02, 2013 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This could have been great; instead it was uneven, occasionally good, sometimes ho-hum, often a bit annoying.

The pluses:
The plotting
The realistic-but-not-nihilistic tone
The fight scenes

The minuses:
The sexism
The pacing
The flashbacks, interrupting events just as they get interesting
The typos
The sexism
The continuity errors (on one page, someone who's been dead for 12 years is referred to as dead for 9 years, and on another the author says "Adele" when he means "Apple")
The language--not the profanit
Jun 15, 2012 Ken rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lonely teenage boys who daydream about superheroes having sex
Oh, man, this was not the book for me. Much of the book is told in author's summary, so there's very little sense of immediacy. It's also almost entirely lacking in suspense, tension, drama, almost any sort of emotion, really, aside from a vague sort of humor. There are so many digressions and back stories that I really found it very distracting and frustrating. And I really tired of all the allusions to how many people the main character had had sex with. For a book brimming with boners and bra ...more
Tim Hulsizer
I'm always excited to read novels about superheroes. Much as I love comic books themselves, there's something interesting about reading their stories stripped from the visual aid of the artwork. Without the visuals, and with more time to ramble in prose form, an author can get inside a hero's head in a way that few comic books or graphic novels are able to manage.

One of my favorite superhero novels, All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman, manages to bridge the gap between normal human
Austin Bertrand
Dec 23, 2015 Austin Bertrand rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great action, and it is full of it. "Reaver" is involed in the fight of his life at the begining of the novel, he gets cornered and Octagon says A lot happens in this book. The writing and descriptive detail are fantastic throughout, but there were some dense sections. It read like a Chuck Palahniuk novel but with superheros/supervillains aka "the powered." The characters are likeable but have they have their imperfections, which make them seem more human. The villains are numerous and spins on ...more
Colleen Coover
May 24, 2012 Colleen Coover rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: This book was written by my husband.
wikid awsome
Feb 07, 2013 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 27, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a hoot!

I was walking through the library looking for someone else when I noticed this book, and with a title like "Prepare to die!", how could I resist? Happily, it lived up to the bombast implied in the title, and my craving for a rock-em, sock-em superhero adventure was fulfilled.

The basic premise is that the last of the superheroes gets his butt handed to him by the team of supervillains, who tell him (in classic comic book speak) to "prepare to die" - to which he responds "ok, I'll nee
Terry Barker
May 01, 2013 Terry Barker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've seen the move Hancock, this will remind you of it. Except the hero, Reaver, is not a depressed drunk. And he has not one villain to fight, but about eight or ten. And they have extraordinarily cool names--Octagon, Macabre, Laser Beast, Tempest, Siren, Mistress Mary, Stellar, and a few others.

Reaver was created from an accident involving a chemical spill (where have we heard that one before?), and he now has super strength, invulnerability, and can move three times faster than a normal
Nov 26, 2012 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horny, lonely superheroes... and their biographers
Recommended to Alan by: The Portland Mercury, and an ageless theme
Angst-ridden superheroes (and supervillains) are something of a thing, these days, and Prepare To Die is a perfectly adequate example of this burgeoning subgenre.

I'm a fan of this sort of thing anyway—other examples that spring easily to mind include Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible; the zany From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain by Minister Faust (and don't miss The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad); Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez; the super-crimin
Aug 21, 2012 Burgoo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012, fantasy
When superhero Steve Clarke (aka Reaver) is defeated by Octagon & his band of evil henchmen, rather than killing him on the spot, he is given two weeks to live. We follow Steve as he attempts to complete his modest bucket list, which primarily consists of unfinished business from his life before he became a superhero.

Clarke’s world is clearly post Miller & Moore. The heroes are burdened by their abilities and the consequences of their actions. The villains are very very evil. There are l
Jul 21, 2012 Glenn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any superhero fan over 16
Recommended to Glenn by:
I really enjoyed the book but found it difficult to read due to the rampant use of flashbacks and asides. I was three times as annoyed as a normal person by the "Three times faster then a normal person" used every third page. This is not your grandparents superhero book. There is three times the sex as a normal romance novel, three times the cursing as teen locker room, and three times the lesbian sex then a 1970 porn flick.

The book reminded me of the Wild CarsWild Cardsbooks by George R.R. Mar
Dec 06, 2013 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books
This book was definitely different than what I expected from the blurb, but it turned out to be even better than I hoped.

Tobin takes the idea of superheroes (small-town childhood and all) and extrapolates how they might work in the modern-day U.S./world, to an end that's both realistic (super-powers included) and gritty (a heads up: it is impossible to overuse the word "gritty" when reviewing this book. that should tell you a lot right there).

Take the cover subtitle "a tale of superheroes, sex,
Jun 16, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good. Very oriented towards the sexual conquest idea, but not bad, though some might be turned off on this. We have seen several books and graphic novels over the last few years remaking the superhero idea and what it would do to a normal human if they suddenly got this great power. From Powers by Brian Bendis, or The Boys by Garth Ennis. The idea that "With Great power comes great responsibility" is a wonderful thing to strive for, but it will probably be too far out of reach of the aver ...more
Sep 02, 2014 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was pretty damn good.
As a comic book geek sure, I have read many attempt to do prose superheros but Tobin successfully makes a character that makes logical sense.
Reading these reviews it seems it seems like many thought this book was sexist... I don't see it sure there is sex but there is a predatory female, lovable gay couple and the main character is written like pretty standard noir male character.
Aug 08, 2014 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a comic book fan, so I had to check this one out. It was entertaining. I liked the idea that a) being a hero might not be all it's cracked up to be, b) a hero who knew he was going to die might change his behavior and try to wrap-up his "business". It's an interesting idea. Granted, some of the characters are a bit lacking in dimension, but then again, it's basically a comic book.
Some friends hate the ending, I loved it - definitely kept me reading and I finished it quickly. Always interesting to read a relationship from the perspective of the another gender, and this was told from the viewpoint of an "alpha" male superhero with lots of self-doubt and self-loathing.
John Simpson
May 29, 2014 John Simpson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some interesting reviews below.

I'd argue they're not looking at the book as it was intended: as a comic book, matured, and set as a novel. Tobin is supremely skilled at setting his characters in that version of the world (as he should be considering his profession). If you go into this expecting a realistic portrayal of superhumans in our own world, you'll probably come out disappointed.

The thing that tipped me from a 4 to 5 star review on this was the final battle. I know from experience how ha
Matt Piechocinski
I'm gonna take reviewer Eric's review as sarcasm ... because I too thought that was the one fault with this book ... being constantly reminded that Reaver moves 3x faster than a normal human being.

Other than that? Great super hero fiction and I would honestly put it up there with the Wildcards series.
Feb 09, 2014 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilariously inappropriately hilarious. Take "Beat the Reaper" add "Soon I Will Be Invincible" throw in a pinch of stripper dust and you've got this book. So very funny and enjoyable. Lewd and funny. Hilariously horny. Come on over to the dark side, and read this book!
May 26, 2015 Pygmy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Writing style seemed okay from what little I read, and the powers of the main character were interesting. But the main character is too testosterone-driven in all the most stereotypical ways; sex-obsessed, crass, kind of dysfunctional. Maybe he becomes more sympathetic later on, but I reached a point where he's flashbacking to his high school girlfriend doing phone sex and I'm No thanks.
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Paul Tobin is the Eisner-award winning author of Bandette, Colder, and many other comic books and graphic series. His original graphic novel I Was the Cat was nominated for an Eisner in 2015.

The Genius Factor: How to Capture an Invisible Cat, first in his five-book series of middle-grade books, is out March 2016 from Bloomsbury Kids.

More about Paul Tobin...

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“Lots of men think that women should tell the truth, explain their feelings. These men should use their wishes more wisely. (Prepare To Die!, p.27)” 7 likes
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