Review

Soon I Will Be Invincible

by Austin Grossman

Summer is here, and along with the heat and humidity come the
summer blockbusters. If you want all the excitement and
death-defying thrills Spider-Man 3 can offer but don't
want to venture any further than your strategically-placed beach
chair, then SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE is the perfect book for your
summer reading list.

Poor Doctor Impossible. Life is not easy for evil geniuses these
days. He has been incarcerated after his last bid to take over the
world and is having a little trouble adjusting to life on the
inside: "I'm the smartest man in the world. Once I wore a cape in
public, and fought battles against men who could fly, who had metal
skin, who could kill you with their eyes. I fought Corefire to a
standstill, and the Super Squadron, and the Champions. Now I have
to shuffle through a cafeteria line with men who tried to pass bad
checks."

Such is the tongue-in-cheek humor of Austin Grossman's hilarious
look at the realm of the superhero. In this world, a certain
percentage of the population possesses special powers, which many
use for good. But others, like Doctor Impossible and his ilk, use
theirs for evil. To keep things in line, a group of superheroes
called the Champions formed to put a lid on the villains. In recent
times, though, these pillars of society and superhuman strength
have become more enraptured with their personal appearances and
fragrance lines than maintaining the peace.

When Corefire, one of the strongest of their kind, goes missing, it
is presumed that his nemesis, Doctor Impossible, is behind it. Two
mutated heroes question him in jail, but Impossible seizes the
opportunity to make a break for it. The rest of the Champions,
including newest recruit Fatale, a half-woman/half-robot creation,
frantically try to track him down and bring him to justice.

The timing for Austin Grossman's ambitious and entertaining first
novel couldn't be more fitting. With movie franchises like
X-Men and the Spider-Man films storming the box
office, and programs like "Heroes" dominating the airwaves, his
funny, refreshing look at the world of heroes and villains offers
the wit and charm that is sometimes lacking from the more serious
side of comic book heroes: "To be a supervillain, you need to have
certain things. Don't bother with a secret identity, that's a hero
thing."

Fatale has been appointed recently to the Champions team. However,
despite her superhuman strength, she is not immune from crippling
self-doubt, not only about her appearance but about her place in
the Champions lineup: "Obviously, I don't have a secret identity
--- I look the same all the time. There's a rubber half mask I can
fit onto the right side of my face and neck if I want to make a try
at looking human (the effect is grotesque, but with a hood up it
basically works). I might have looked more human if I'd wanted, but
I hate the store-mannequin plastic feel prosthetics they have, the
Band-Aid colored flesh. So when they showed me a whole binder full
of pastel swatches, a world of browns and pinks, I finally told
them to leave the metal exposed. I save the half mask for
emergencies." Ah, strong, practical and not vain. Take that, Wonder
Woman! 

SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE guides you through the intricate ins and
outs of the superhero crime fighter, from his choice of uniform to
his special hero moniker, and what each choice says about the
individual and their powers. It is as enjoyable as it is
sardonically informative. So grab a beach chair, some SPF 30 and
settle in for an amusing and engaging read that will win over
diehard comic superhero fans and novices alike. 

Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on January 23, 2011

Soon I Will Be Invincible
by Austin Grossman

  • Publication Date: June 10, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 0307279863
  • ISBN-13: 9780307279866