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In Hero Years... I'm Dead

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  719 Ratings  ·  76 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
Kindle Edition, Deluxe Edition, 325 pages
Published (first published November 8th 2010)
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Nov 16, 2010 Javier rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 21, 2011 Jason Craft rated it it was amazing
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
Stephen Brophy
Feb 12, 2014 Stephen Brophy rated it liked it
Shelves: superfiction
While it definitely lives up to its tag "A Superhero Noir," and I mostly like the world Stackpole creates in which to insert his pastiche characters, there is a sense that sometimes he doesn't work hard enough to differentiate his heroes from the comic book icons he's parodying/homaging. For example, if you want to put an obvious Catwoman take-off in your book, stretch a little farther than calling her Selene Kole. We'll still get it, I promise.

Stackpole writes well, and his main characters is
Feb 06, 2013 David(LA,CA) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: influences
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
Jul 06, 2013 Taylor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2011 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
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
R. L. Copple
Aug 08, 2013 R. L. Copple rated it liked it
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
Peter Jones
Sep 20, 2013 Peter Jones rated it really liked it
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
Jul 24, 2013 Brendan rated it liked it
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
Robert E.
Jan 11, 2011 Robert E. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
A fascinating take on superheroes, giving us a society where their goings-on are a norm. The characters are magnified by their abilities, with backgrounds of angst and valor, pettiness and nobility seen through their eyes. The characters and their interactions make the book a delight to read.
Jim Brady
Apr 28, 2011 Jim Brady rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 22, 2013 Tin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Jefferson Smith
Jul 10, 2013 Jefferson Smith rated it liked it
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
Dan Thompson
Sep 27, 2013 Dan Thompson rated it liked it
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
Sep 19, 2014 Squee rated it did not like it
Sometimes fun, but way too derivative and fan-ficcy. I should have known better after reading I, Jedi years ago (and perhaps, in fairness, I'm still irritated enough by that novel that this one really needed to be extra good to compensate). Much like the main character of that particularly wretched work, the main character of this book is a flimsy wish-fulfillment piece.

He basically takes Batman's--sorry, Nighthaunt's--place when he loses his mind. (view spoiler)
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 apprarently long ...more
Procrastinador Diletante
Jul 03, 2014 Procrastinador Diletante rated it really liked it
Já conhecia a obra do autor no universo do Star Wars e do Battletech e por isso tinha alguma curiosidade em ler o que ele faria com os super-heróis.

Não fiquei desapontado, embora não considere este livro um obra claramente de super-heróis mas sim um policial com os mesmos pelo meio. No entanto, todas as "teclas" certas do género são batidas pelo autor - temos as homenagens aos "grandes" da DC (sendo o Batman e o Super-Homem os mais claros) e à Marvel (Capitão América, entre outros); temos os si
David Harriss
Mar 18, 2014 David Harriss rated it really liked it
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 -
Nov 12, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing
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
Mike Matteson
Mar 08, 2012 Mike Matteson rated it really liked it
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
Sep 16, 2015 Penny rated it liked it
I like the way Michael Stackpole writes. This book was pulling four stars in my ratings until the last 20 percent or so. Other reviewers did not like the long, slow set-up, but I did. The character was yanked out of the city two decades earlier, and he's finally able to return. His career - superhero. Time has obscured his legacy and aged his body. He learns quickly that he's no longer effective, and a lot of the book consists of challenges to his resolve to get out and stay out of Superhero-ing ...more
Graham Storrs
Sep 17, 2013 Graham Storrs rated it really liked it
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",
Jul 04, 2013 Eero rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, story-bundle
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
Jun 27, 2012 Shoshana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: noir-ish, superheroes
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
Feb 17, 2014 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
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
Steven Morton
Aug 05, 2014 Steven Morton rated it it was amazing
I loved the book! like others have said In Hero Years does start out slow but that did not bother me, Stackpole builds such a detailed world I am glad he took so long to get to the action. In Hero Years is one the most unique take on superhero fiction since Soon I Will Be Invincible in my opinion. Plus adding the mystery element was a nice touch by Stackpole. I hope he will return to this world in the near future because he has a good feel for these types of characters. I also loved his essay ex ...more
John Lundquist
Aug 07, 2013 John Lundquist rated it liked it
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
Jul 31, 2013 Cale rated it really liked it
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
May 28, 2015 Chris rated it it was ok
This book was a fun read, but doesn't hold up to examination at all. I felt like the writer hadn't really thought the ideas out very well. He presents a ridiculous future scenario and not nearly enough explanation to make it reasonable. He removes a character for 20 years so that he's introduced to it the same as the reader is, but never gives a decent explanation of how that character is removed for that long. He shortcuts real world-building by making all of his characters cheap versions of DC ...more
3.5 stars

Despite a promising beginning, the story lost direction quite early, leaving a lot of pages to read in the vague hope that it would redeem itself but unfortunately the ending was rather two-dimensional.

The book suffers from over-writing and is riddled with serious grammatical errors and absent words that leave some sentences almost incomprehensible. A lot of space is given over to martial arts action sequences, which does not add anything to the story's appeal. The reasons behind the le
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