Saw this on MySpace and thought it looked interesting. I liked the premise of downloading superpowers, and the story definitely snagged my attention f...moreSaw this on MySpace and thought it looked interesting. I liked the premise of downloading superpowers, and the story definitely snagged my attention from the beginning. My only quibble is that I don't know if the opening chapter was really necessary ~ the author starts in the middle of a breathtaking scene, then backtracks to bring the reader up to speed. While the conceit works well enough, I found that I had completely forgotten about the opening scene and was surprised when the story finally got back there near the end of the book.(less)
A good novelization of the first X-Men movie. I enjoyed the backstory they created for Rogue in this version, though I prefer her as an older characte...moreA good novelization of the first X-Men movie. I enjoyed the backstory they created for Rogue in this version, though I prefer her as an older character (and, more importantly, with Gambit). I did like the link between she and Magneto, which reflects the history as told through the comic books.
If I enjoy a movie, I like reading the novelization because it provides a bit more characterization than the movie affords. This is no exception.(less)
Another novelization that provides a more in-depth look at the characters than what was afforded on the big screen. Claremont has written many of the...moreAnother novelization that provides a more in-depth look at the characters than what was afforded on the big screen. Claremont has written many of the X-Men comics, so his knowledge of the characters is quite intimate. This comes through well in the story ~ there is a real sense that the author knows the characters inside and out, and wasn't a newcomer to the series.(less)
Read this in college as individual comic books (not a graphic novel). While I really enjoyed the characters and premise, I thought the ending of the m...moreRead this in college as individual comic books (not a graphic novel). While I really enjoyed the characters and premise, I thought the ending of the movie was better than the original ending of the comic. I'm always skeptical of anything that turns out to be aliens from outer space, you know? It's almost too cliché anymore.(less)
I fell in love with superheroes in college, and no storyline is more endearing to me than the "coming out" or "coming of age" arc when the hero realiz...moreI fell in love with superheroes in college, and no storyline is more endearing to me than the "coming out" or "coming of age" arc when the hero realizes the potential in his powers and struggles to come to terms with them. Most stories of that type center on the superhero himself, and all the angst associated with realizing he's some sort of freak shunned by the society he aims to protect.
One of the things that makes "Masks: Rise of Heroes" so different in this genre is that the main character is not the superhero ~ he's not even the sidekick. He's just your average teenage boy with raging hormones who constantly seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Eric Plath is sixteen, precocious, and lusts over the new superhero in town, who seems to have an uncanny knack for saving his hide.
I really liked Eric ~ his voice, dialogue, and actions rang very true to life. As the story progresses, he learns more about his best friends, Peter and Althea, and his emotions also hit the mark. I also loved spunky Althea, who seems destined to play the role of fag hag for the rest of her life (get used to it, honey, is all I'm saying; take it from someone who knows). And Peter quickly grew from the nerdy "best friend" in the wings into a character of his own right, the perfect foil for Eric: level-headed, weighed down with responsibility, and so very much head over heels in love.
The story takes place in a very somber setting ~ Vintage City. The author's use of language to describe the atmosphere really helped set the mood, and contrasted nicely with Eric's internal landscape. Lines I particularly liked were:
"... rain that seemed to be made of liquid metal."
"Understated jewelry sprouted like sparkling lichen on her arms and neck."
"The wild, manic expressions on the horses' faces and the wide-eyed, watchful looks with which wooden cherubs regarded carnival visitors had that distinct glamour of madness to them. I couldn't help but stare back."
There is a lot of humor infused in the story, as well. The author's turn of phrase sometimes made me laugh out loud ~ Eric has a quick, sardonic wit that I thoroughly enjoyed, particularly in his internal dialogue:
"My glasses clung to my head by one temple with a death grip around my right ear."
"He had a cleft in his chin. God help me, he had a cleft in his chin."
There is also a very strong love element throughout the story. While Eric is already out with his family before the book starts, and is very comfortable with his sexuality, the relationship that grows between himself and Peter is his first true romance. And while the story is YA or "young adult," the boy is sixteen. There are quite a few places where the author subtly reminds the reader of that fact, in such wonderful phrases as:
"Then I dreamed of him 'arresting' me and taking me into custody. Not once did I demand to see my lawyer, and yes, I came willingly."
The reason behind Magnifiman's superpowers is nicely explained, though we don't learn much about the Devil's Trill. The plot involving his interest in Eric comes up in the final half of the book, bringing all elements of the story together to a satisfying ~ if rushed ~ conclusion, but there are still many questions left unanswered. "Masks" ends abruptly, until you realize this is the first in a trilogy, and I hope that the other two books will fill in the bits readers are left wondering about in Book 1.
For a story about caped superheroes and maniacal villains, the human element shines through, a realistic thread that makes the tale believable. What makes super powered heroes so irresistible to us isn't so much the desire to be rescued from our own devices or mundane lives, but rather to know that beneath those rippling muscles, somewhere within that super-smart brain, lies the very same heart, the same emotions and thoughts, hopes and dreams ~ the same soul ~ that lies within us all.
I found myself drawn into the story almost immediately, and couldn't stop turning the pages to get to the end. This book is a great start to what looks to be a fun series about superheroes among us. I can't wait for the next part. (less)