Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Seven Wonders

There are books you like, then then are ones you hate. Then there are the ones that you want to like, but turn into such ham fisted slogs that you finish just to see how long this train wreck goes on for. I hate to say it, but Seven Wonders, by Adam Christopher is one such book.

This book is set in a world with superheroes, including its own band of Superfriends known as the Seven Wonders. The 7W are so good at their job that there are no longer any supervillains  except one; a dark and brooding superman known as the Cowl who controls one small city on the west coast. This also happens to be the same city where the 7W have their Hall of Justice, but there is nothing suspicious about that, right? Meanwhile, across town a regular guy named Tony wakes up one day to discover he has the Cowl's superpowers, and the Cowl wakes up to discover that he is once again a mere mortal...

Sounds like a pretty good set up, right? And there some neat ideas here the action sequences are actually fun to read. Too bad the character motivation is so random that it borders on schizophrenic. The 7W themselves remain enigmas which would be fine, more than fine if the book had continued to concentrate on Tony. But then there is a handbrake turn in plot halfway through the book that suddenly brings them to the forefront but leaves you with NO concept of who these people are.

And Tony, poor deluded Tony. In what I think was meant to be a statement about absolute power, he goes from trying to be a hero but accidentally killing two crackheads (while still trying to figure out his powers), to brutally and without a hint of remorse, slaughtering cops not twenty pages later. There is no character development in play here, these two events happen more or less sequentially to the character.

Nevertheless, a book about Tony trying to figure out if he is a hero or a villain would have at least been interesting. What it turns into instead has been a tired plot since the silver age, and the ending should be UTTERLY unsurprising even to non comic fans who read about comic book plot developments in the newspaper.

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