In Hero Years... I'm Dead (Deluxe Edition)
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In Hero Years... I'm Dead (Deluxe Edition)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  410 ratings  ·  60 reviews
In Hero Years... I'm Dead is New York Times bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole's first Digital-Original novel.

Twenty years ago someone stole him away from Capital City. Having been released from captivity he returns to find everything changed. The great heroes of his day, men who could move planets or tear apart criminal syndicates, have all retired. A new breed of he...more
Kindle Edition, 325 pages
Published (first published November 8th 2010)
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In Hero Years... I'm Dead is one of the better, if not the best superhero novels that I have read. The book like many recent superhero stories deals more with secret identity side of the superhero life and does so quite well, telling the story of a hero trying to reintegrate into the life he unwilling left behind twenty years before. Stackpole's take on this scenario is both interesting and believable and meshes well with the central superhero plot, which is itself interesting and has its share...more
Jason Craft
It is incredibly hard to tell an inventive superhero story, but In Hero Years…I’m Dead genuinely spins an original tale. Stackpole mixes the traditional comic book feel with quirky humor and a noir-detective backdrop that makes for truly compelling reading. Capital City is full of surprises around every turn as caricatures of all the classic heroes propel you further down its alleys.

The characters feel very real and leap off the screen. The protagonist keeps you engaged as he explores the new wo...more
R. L. Copple
There is a lot to like about this book. Interesting characters. Nods to the comic book heroes. An overall strong plot with twist. A unique take on a superhero world, even if a little unbelievable, it fits the comic book style. Good, clear writing. Minimal typos (I noticed only two).

So why 3 stars? Mainly because the first third to half the book reads like someone who isn't sure where the story is going, and is burning time with lots of internal dialog, often over things you think, "Do I really c...more
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Michael Stackpole has been my favorite fiction author for years, but as far as I know this is his first professional foray into superhero fiction, a rather obscure genre. The hero of the story is back in the city after being away for 20 years (it takes about half the book to get to an explanation of why he was away), and he slowly gets enmeshed in a series of events leading the city to a breaking point. Will he side with the villains or the heros? Will the city be saved?

I think what I enjoyed th...more
This book reads like an Elseworlds novel where all the heroes have been given different names, but you can still recognize most of them. Superheroing, and supervillainy, have fallen into a neatly organized ranking system, all wrapped up in non-lethal property damage. People follow the rankings of their favorites and everybody is happy. An old hero returns to the city after a long absence and tries to patch up his relationships while he tries to retire.

It's difficult to take the premise seriously...more
David Harriss
Good but flawed.

There is a lot to like about this book. The characters are relatable and often iconic, the action is furious and fast, and the mystery is both mysterious and solvable (if you can stop reading long enough to try and puzzle it out; I could not). The themes are solid and fairly easy to spot, and the author presents a (sadly) believable world.

It has flaws as well. The most obvious is a need for two or three more editing passes. Next to that is the level of confusion for the reader -...more
Jim Brady
Great Take on the super hero journey. The characters are parody of heroes you will recognize. I thought it was extremely well laid out and had a great plot.
Definitely one of the most original reads I've had in quite awhile :-)

Our narrator is a man of mystery returning to a city he left 20 years ago. In the first few pages, he finds out he has a kid...and that the city he left has definitely changed.

Not sure what else to say other than: I LOVE THIS BOOK

Our man of mystery is cocky, but a decent man. He wants to make things right and that's the story...redemption. Stackpole does it with great storytelling and really good character development.

"In Hero...more
Mike Matteson
Apr 08, 2012 Mike Matteson rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who liked Watchmen.
Shelves: recommended
I've liked Stackpole for quite a long time, and this story reminds me why. He writes good characters and lets them drive the story. The characters in this book are interesting, and we get introduced to them slowly over the course of the story. The story seems like a character study of some characters who see a lot of action rather than the adventure that I was expecting.

Stackpole sort of dumps you into the life of a semi-retired crime-fighter who has been absent from his home city (think Gotham...more
Peter Jones
I have been a fan of Michael Stackpole since I read the first Rogue Squadron book many years ago. He writes action quite well, and seems more comfortable with writing in the first person perspective than many authors.

In Hero Years is a "super hero noir" novel. Told from the perspective of an normal person who played the super hero game, the novel takes place in a world where super heroes are the norm, as are villians. After a 20 year absence, the reasons for which we discover later, our hero fi...more
It turns out, I was right about Michael Stackpole. His reputation does precedes him; being a game designer and author of Star Wars and Battle Tech novels and a future World of Warcraft novel; he does understand fantasy and sci-fi. The world Stackpole created here is just so meticulously detailed and technical that it comes out very realistic. There wasn't a single doubt in my mind that such a world could exist.

Capital City is this big modern futuristic city where "heroing" (crime fighting) is v...more
Jefferson Smith
My Blurb: The rules used to be simple: bad guys broke the law and super heros kicked their asses. But that's all changed, now. When a used-to-be up-and-coming super hero returns after a mysterious twenty-year absence, he finds a world where master criminals post their fiendish plots online, heros bid for the right to oppose them, and the public follows it all in a complex Franken-merger betting scheme that is one part stock market, one part reality TV empire, and all kinds of crazy. But when Mr....more
This was a very good read and the fact that I got through it so fast is testament to how well it holds the readers attention. when a minor superhero returns to central city after 20 years of involuntary imprisonment he is shocked at how much has changed. Heroes and villains are now part of a game of good and evil that is broadcast 24x7 to everyone in the city. Forced into retirement he nevertheless wants to know who was behind his imprisonment as it looks like there might yet be a supervillan ou...more
An interesting mix of homage and originality. As seems to be standard for a work focusing on costumed superheroes, we get our normal cast of characters with the serial numbers filled off (big blue boy scout, dark knight, armored genius inventor) but we also get a few that are usually passed over (I'm looking at you, joke of a fish guy). We get a world that's already used to the idea of heroes and villains with extraordinary abilities, but the reaction to that fact has to be the most unique piece...more
(3 of 5 stars)

This one's very up and down. Plot aside, this is really one giant worldbuilding exercise, and in that sense it's enjoyable; I liked the slow reveal through the first third of the book, where the protagonist must re-orient himself in a city that has changed drastically in his absence. But after this stage-setting segment is over, the fun fades a little - the political commentary gets (much) more blatant, while at the same time showing it hasn't aged well (three years' lag time is ap...more
Dan Thompson
This was an odd little superhero story where an aging hero comes back for one last shot at glory. The hero-narrator (a man with a dozen secret identities, going by the old hero title of Coyote) tells his tale of returning to his Capital City after twenty years of captivity in foreign lands, his will focused on taking revenge on those who betrayed him long ago. Alas, too much has changed. A whole new breed of heroes and villains have emerged, and not only is our aging hero a little off his game,...more
This was pretty good. I am not a big comics buff, but I was familiar enough with the Batman and Superman myths (who isn't these days) that I could get the references. Basically this is a reimagining of a whole bunch of classic superheroes. I could recognize several, but probably missed or misidentified more. The Superman, Batman and Catwoman references were laid a bit thick, including character and place names. I would have to be blind to miss them.

On the cover this book is called a "superhero n...more
Graham Storrs
I don't know why I read this book. The title didn't grab me, it's about superheroes, and I'd never heard of Michael A. Stackpole. But I'd bought it in a bundle and I had nothing more promising on my Kindle the night I started.

So it was nice to find this was a well-written, intelligent book. Yes, it was about an ageing superhero who returns to the city of his youth and struggles to cope with the changed times and his own flagging abilities, and the characters were all people with silly "powers",...more
I wish this was the first book of a series. Stackpole builds such a vivid world and such intriguing characters that I cannot help but want to spend more time with them and explore them further. Don't take this to mean that the book's conclusion is unsatisfying in any way, though, or that the characters are not fleshed out; both the male and female superheroes (of which there are many) develop over the course of the story and Stackpole works the surreal plot and character twists superhero comics...more
Odd thing this, it's basically DC Fanfic, with recognisable DC heroes but wearing different names. And once you click who is supposed to be whom, it gets a lot better.

The shock twist about who the real villian is at the end was telegraphed a mile away though. And that loses it a star.
I'm a big fan of Stackpole in all his forms, but he was firing on all cylinders with this exploration of superhero tropes. A former hero comes back after 20 years to find the world he knew completely changed. Taking archetypes of Batman and Superman and dozens of other characters and putting them in a world where Superhero battles have become entertainment, gambling government sanctioned, and super-villains publish tell-all novels and do the tour circuit.

There's a lot to the story, as the hero j...more
John Lundquist
Overall I liked this but it took a little to long to get to what ended up being the main conflict. The main character gets to town and spends a little while getting used to the way things are now which is fine because it shows us how things work in this world at the same time. After it is all spelled out though it is still a while for things to get going though.
The characters are all well written although it can be a little hard to keep their real names and their super hero names straight. Bein...more
This was a good book, but I was reading it off and on while reading other things so I think that might have affected my perception of the story flow. Parts of it seemed slow and it was hard to see where the story was going for the main character. Once I got towards the end it started to piece together and make much more sense. Overall a neat take on a world where superheros and villains are just a part of life.
A fascinating take on superheroes and a potential evolution of a society in which they exist. Stackpole has fun with the world and gets to include some fun commentary on current social trends while look at various classic superhero archetypes and the effect on them of the changing times. And a good mystery/adventure story is included as well.

The deluxe edition includes considerable commentary from Stackpole about how the book came about and how it was published, all very interesting as well.
It was confusing.

You are placed in middle of the world where everything to some degree is staged.

I did not get attached to any characters. We are getting somehow deeper view of main hero, but nothing much about others.

Plot is also keeps changing directions too often and without clear reasons.

Too many characters / superheros. The thing, that they have real identity, and often few superheroes (past and present) identities, even more confusing.
A self-published original universe superhero novel that's really very good. Helps quite a bit that Stackpole can write. It's a good read, interesting plot, likeable characters, and a really interesting take on a setting. My only complaint? Chapter breaks (at least at the beginning) that don't wrap up a scene/event. Next chapter begins literally right where the last one left off. Yes, this is an odd complaint. Feel free to ignore it.
fun read that reminded me of a darker, adult version of "the incredibles" or (to some extent) a novelized version of "kickass." the basic premise involves an aging superhero returning to Capital City after 20 years away, and discovering everything has changed. the first half, when the author is setting up the characters and world was the best part. the ending was so-so, but i enjoyed getting there. 3 stars.
Aug 21, 2013 Charl rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Wonderful superhero story set in a parallel world where superheroes are commonplace. How society adjusts to that, and how the heroes (and villains) deal with that is well thought-out and believable. And the story itself flows naturally from that premise, and the characters' own reactions to the situations.

Plus the sub-game of identifying as many of the heroes as you can.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jim Heivilin
I loved this book. It makes me want to write up the setting as an RPG setting.

Stackpole explores a number of superhero memes. Secret identities. The threat to a superhero's loved one. The importance to society of the superhero himself verses the actor who portrays them in a tv series. Crime as danger verses crime as entertainment.

If you like his work then I hardily recommend this one.
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