Imagine an alternate world full of mutant super heroes and super villains. The police can’t handle the latter, so teams of super heroes, including the West Pacific Supers, do the heavy lifting. To complicate matters, there are vigilante mutants—not quite good enough to be on the organized teams—who want to prove themselves.
Welcome to “West Pacific Supers: Rising Tide”, both a satire and social commentary on our own sports, celebrity, media, advertising, and research-heavy culture. Each professional super hero has a contract, endorsements, an agent, and is pursued by “superazzi”. Their private lives are picked apart and gossiped about. There are team rankings, TV coverage of crime fighting episodes, and awards like “Rookie of the Year” at the end of the season.
One central plot line has the super villains stealing powerful explosives and an eight ton machine, designed to upset the earth’s crust and create a man-made island. The possibility that a tsunami might result is just collateral damage. There are other confrontations with the Infinite Circle, professional bad guys. Some of the super heroes perish in an explosion and there is a traitor who has crossed over to the dark side.
The characters of the super heroes—both male and female—are complex, three-dimensional and well-defined, in part, perhaps, because the story is a joint effort by a husband and wife team. Unfortunately, there tends to be too many characters to keep track of, and it would have been helpful to supply a listing of each group at the beginning of the book for the reader to refer back to. That said, the names and powers given to each character are both funny and imaginative (i.e. Kill O’Watts, who uses electricity to maim).
There are pockets of sharp humor in the story that one wishes were expanded, including one about a Mutant Dating Service for lonely mutants. Sometimes there is too much talking and not enough action, although the action sequences, when they come, are handled well.
Overall “West Pacific Supers: Rising Tide, is imaginative and ambitious, a strong first-effort by its authors.
A sequel, Victory at Any Cost, is due out this year.
Reviewed by Joe DelPriore for IndieReader