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The Astounding Antagonists

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  205 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Dr. Agon, a megalomaniacal inventor with an arsenal of lethal gadgets. Motley, a wisecracking jewel thief with nothing left to lose. Chillpill, a cryogenic drug lord who just wants a normal life. Baelphegor, a demonic psychopath with an ugly score to settle.
They're the most dangerous supervillains on Earth, and they're about to pull off the perfect crime. There's just on
Paperback, 390 pages
Published October 19th 2014 by Amazon Digital Services
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  205 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Don’t you just love it when you discover a shining gem of a book? I do! The Astounding Antagonists is a fantastic read. It’s a supervillain/hero novel and there’s probably nothing that a hardcore superhero fan wouldn’t expect BUT Rafael Chandler has a knack for creating top-notch characters and flowing dialogue and action, guaranteed to win the reader over.

25 years ago, the Prisms, which turned normal people into superbeings, had landed all over the world. Now, Verdict, Facet, and BioTech spe
The Astounding Antagonists is an entry into the sparsely populated field of superhero novels. It skillfully blends common superhero tropes, subverted tropes, and obvious deep thought about the implications.

The book focuses on the exploits of a group of supervillains who run the gamut from idealistic rebellion against the status quo to self interested greed. The Antagonists present a varied group with complex motivations, interpersonal relationships and behaviors. Chandler has clearly taken the i
Sophie Lagacé
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: superhero
Rafael Chandler's "The Astounding Antagonists" is a superhero-and-supervillain page-turner and, so far, the best novel I have read in the genre. It's not easy to make a genre primarily associated with visual media come alive solely with words, but Chandler does a beautiful job.

The first thing that hooked me, from the very first few paragraphs, is the strong characterization, with interesting, likeable, believable, and diverse characters. Then we get to see a web of relationships established betw
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: superheros, reviewed
I'm not sure what to rate this one.

It didn't really grab me the way some books have, but at the same time ... there are a lot of books out there I've liked a lot less. So, I guess I'll go with three stars.

The story direction is reasonable: A harsh look at the so-called superheroes who run things from the perspective of their "antagonists". The writing is decent in most places, although some of the scene descriptions are lacking and left me somewhat confused as to what actions were taking place
Stephen Brophy
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best capepunk novel since "Soon I Will Be Invincible"

I've read a lot of books in this genre in the past few years, and discovered many gems among the dross, but Chandler's is the first since Grossman's to give me this much of a visceral, emotional and literary thrill. His characters are so strong, uniquely voiced, understandably motivated, and genuinely engaging I found myself fearing for their lives and well-being with every turn of the page. Well, the villains anyway. Chandler creates a ro
Deanna Stanley
I just don't care any more. I don't particularly like any of the characters. The "heroes" are all petty, entitled, shallow snots. The villains are more likeable but even then they have their own goals and have no problem manipulating the rest to accomplish them. The author has a very strong 1% v 99% theme going where being rich and powerful automatically makes you bad and only the poor are deserving of anything. I kept waiting for someone to scream "occupy Wall street!" Eventually, I just wore o ...more
Joel Krause
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Really interesting, liked the concepts of good vs. evil but in way you don't expect it. Characters grow on you, they have good depth and are interesting. Really enjoyed the style, and I am not a huge comic fan.
Jessica Bronder
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a super hero story told from the villain’s view point. Doctor Agon, a super inventory learns that the super heroes are going to be launching a satellite into space that can track everyone on Earth. With the help of other villains, he plans on stopping the little, pompous twerps in their tracks.

With super heroes and comics/graphic novels becoming so popular, we are starting to see more super hero stories. And where there are heroes, there are villains. But what really defines a villain?
Edwin Rydberg
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
A well-written, well-paced, gripping superhero story. Worth the read if you can overlook the amateurish formatting and obvious political slant.

The Astounding Antagonists is a story about superheroes and supervillains, only, it flips the script on the usual take. Heroes are self-absorbed superbrats and vile corporate billionaires, villains are socially sensitive rebels fighting an uncaring system of financial and legal oppression. Well mostly.

The story is told from the points of view of several d
Carl Klutzke
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, owned-digital
The superheroes have made the world safe. They've also made themselves fantastically wealthy, distorted all the laws in their favor, and locked up or killed anyone else with superpowers. They're jerks. Basically the only thing that differentiates them from villains is good PR: the public still loves them, no matter how horribly they repress. The situation feels uncomfortably like a logical extension of our own society's plutocratic and capitalistic tendencies, which is surely Chandler's extent.

Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, sci-fi
I really expected to enjoy this one, but it didn't work for me at all. There were a few characters I liked, but for the most part that were just really unpleasant. I hate books where I don't like the characters. Then the superheroes and the villains all sit around discussing politics. Really? Socialism vs. capitalism? That's your banter?

I think the author had some interesting questions in here, like what happens when the heroes get powerful that they can't be controlled, what would happen to an
Alon Lankri
Sep 01, 2020 rated it liked it
DNF 5%
The concept seems fun and the author has a unique voice but I didn't get any stakes, pain or direction to the story in the first pages and therefore had nothing to hook me forward. This could be a great story with some editing.

I may read other works by the author in the future.
Joshua W
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book totally changed my understanding of superheroes. It is brilliant.
Pete Dawson
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it

Great it was great. Fun read. Love motley. Funny why do I need a long description. It was a fun read.
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-conceived twist on a popular formula

I enjoyed my time with these anti-heroes. The fast-paced story, satirical subversion of genre tropes, and overall intriguing characters had me hooked, even though I am not usually a supers fan. Just be warned: the book contains sudden bursts of darkness and brutality, reminiscent of The Boys. Entirely fitting, I felt, but this might not be for everyone.
Fangs for the Fantasy
At the urging of his alien partner in crime, Helen Damnation, Dr. Argon is putting together a supervillain team to pull off the ultimate crime – the destruction of Helen’s space station to keep it out of the hands of super heroes.

If they pull it off, the world will be free – if not, the heroes will have unprecedented power to impose their vision on the world – a vision garnered from their ivory towers that cares little for the people who are disposed of out of their view.

This book hit all the ri
Ned Leffingwell
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this tale about a group of super-villains and their plot against the world's superheroes. What made this book enjoyable was the author's exploration of the motives of the villains versus the hubris of the heroes. The villains are criminal with sympathetic motives, while the heroes are powerful and act like jerks. My favorite characters where Agon, the genius villain who is so analytical that he feels removed from humanity and Sacrament, a Christian-right version of Superman. Recommende ...more
Jayson Jackson-Coller
Good Read.

A lot of the reviews here bash the book for its politics and nearly made me pass this one by. I'm glad I didn't. I like my heroes and villains all sorts of grey and gray, and this book delivered. The action flowed nicely, characters stayed true to themselves, and even though the line up of heroes and villains is stereotypical, Chandler does an excellent job with them. While this book won't change your life, it is a wonderful time waster and is fun to read.
David Harriss
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
High Three. 3.8 probably

In a frighteningly familiar dystopia, America's greatest heroes are its most wanted villains.

As others say, the "heroes" are evil and selfish jerks, the villains are the ones trying to make the world better, and they are about to lose forever.

Well paced with interesting characters, following Motley is what keeps you reading. Without her, its another depressing 'look at these powerful monsters' tale. With her, it is quite enjoyable.
Scott Wozniak
Other reviews warned me of the political preaching--they didn't prepare me fully. Every single character talked or thought about their political agenda in almost every scene. Even the guys in power gloated about the corrupt they managed to create and hoped to sustain. I liked the overall plot, but just couldn't stomach the constant preaching.
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing--absolutely amazing.

Guardians of the galaxy meets Star Wars. Diverse, well-written, complex, fast paced--basically everything you want from a superhero novel called "astounding antagonists." I fell in love with all the characters and the POV switch was masterful. Srsly--A+
Marika C
Stupid, but a good light read.
Andrew Walls
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining. Moves at a good pace with sympathetic characters that are a few degrees off from your typical hero.
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're going to write a superhero novel, you might as well turn up the volume and wake up the neighbors. Otherwise, what's the point?

Jeffery Lay
rated it it was amazing
Feb 08, 2016
David Reiss
rated it it was amazing
Apr 09, 2018
Ayende Rahien
rated it it was amazing
Dec 30, 2014
rated it really liked it
Apr 23, 2019
Ben Tew
rated it it was ok
Dec 17, 2015
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Rafael Chandler writes novels (The Astounding Antagonists, Hexcommunicated), video games (SOCOM 4, Rainbow Six: Lockdown), and tabletop role-playing games (ViewScream, Pandemonio). He's a metalhead, kaijuphile, gamer, and gorehound.

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