Tag Archives: superhero novels

Tales of the Dim Knight

So I read Tales of the Dim Knight on the recommendation of a writer friend. We’d been talking about superhero prose and the lack of Christian superhero work. I’d already read Leaper (my review here) and that was it. But because I still read a lot of superhero prose, I wanted to read it.

*Spoiler alert*

Written by husband and wife team of Adam and Andrea Graham, the 338 page book is about 100 pages too long. While there are a lot of really cool concepts, ideas and scenes, it lacks a real cohesive story. Yeah, there’s the story thread of the wife threatening to leave the husband—the hero of the story (he finds some alien symbiotic tube that gives him pretty much any power he wants)—but it isn’t consistent and is dropped and forgotten often when the hero runs off to do this one thing or that. There are random events that have little or no relevancy to the overall story. In fact, I’m not really sure what the overall story IS.

The writing itself isn’t bad. In fact, it’s easy to read and moves along nicely. I don’t recall many typos or errors until the very last pages. It just doesn’t say anything. I kept trying to figure out what it was about…but in the end, it’s just about a guy who finds an alien that lets him do anything…it just sort of meanders along.

To make matters worse, the photo and bio of the Grahams make me think they are people I’d like to meet and know. But it felt like there was a story they wanted to tell, but couldn’t figure out how to do it and had more fun making stuff up for the superhero to do—most of which wasn’t connected.

It reads more like it should have been a series of short stories all set in the Dim Knight’s world. Except that the book had sequential chapter numbering, that’s what it felt like. Maybe that hint is in the title, too. “Tales” of the Dim Knight. IF that was the case, then present it as such and not as a novel. In fact, as I type, I think an editor should have suggested that to them. They then could have had the subplots running throughout each of the short stories and it wouldn’t have been bothersome. Except the buying public often doesn’t want to buy anthologies…unless they’re edited by George R.R. Martin.

This is one of those books that’s hard to recommend. If you’re just looking for superhero books…skip it. If you’re looking for Christian superheroes, then you should read it because there aren’t very many choices. But buy it off the sale table if you can find it.

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Dull Boy by Sarah Cross

Dull Boy was a book I picked up for my MFA program but never got the chance to add it to my reading list. It’s too bad, too, because it is one of the better superhero books I’ve read. It is Cross’s first book but I’m sure it won’t be her last.

Dull Boy is the story of Avery, who is superstrong and has the ability to fly. He slips out at night and flies around the city. Not even Avery’s parents know his secret. He’s also deathly afraid of being discovered for fear of being dissected by the “government.” I’ve noticed this is a recurring theme in superhero titles: fear of being discovered and used as a science experiment by the government. I wonder what this says about the attitude of the current generation about the overreaching Federal government.

Just sayin’.

But Avery (spoilers to follow) is sought out by Cherchette, an Iceman type character who we learn is responsible for DNA testing on babies around the nation. Many of those babies died, some of them ended up deformed, but the small band that we read about all have superpowers of some sort. Cherchette spends more than the first half of the book trying to recruit Avery and his new pals. They are pals only in the sense that they’re thrust into the situation together. Cherchette’s offers sound good, but when they learn more about her, they are determined to stop her. The resolution is a big fight with Cherchette.

Cross’s writing moves and is easy to read. The story clunks a little early on as we try to figure out what the story is. The characters are interesting enough to keep us moving forward to find out what each character will do. There is some language in the book, enough to notice but not a lot. Certainly no more than you’d find in a PG-13 movie. Most of it could have been edited out as superfluous.

That said, this is a story about oddballs making oddball friends and sticking together in friendship. The mood is a little reminiscent of Claremont’s X-Men…but that’s not a horrible thing.

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Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask

I haven’t had the chance to talk about many books here in recent posts primarily because I’ve been up to my eyeballs in school. Now that that is done, I’m hoping to get back to more regularity here with reviews, talking about writing and that sort of thing.

So it should probably come as no surprise to you that I feel like I have a lot of “catch-up” reading to do now. I’ve got a stack of books that I’ve gotten over the last two years that I’m anxious to get to—many of them by my Imagicopter pals.

Alas, Flyboy is not one of them, but instead is something I found because of my search for superhero novels and it stood out with the very cool title. And with such a cool title, you’d think this would be a rockin’ book, right?

Instead, it was ehh. Just ehh.

I must confess that my opinion might just be bothered by the idea that it is such a cool title…anyway, a synopsis would be something like this: dude who can turn into a fly develops a crush on a waitress who just so happens to be able to make things disappear. They band together with the intention of fighting social injustice and then do such awesome deeds as make mailboxes disappear. Flyboy gets depressed when his mother dies and become a bee instead, and lives with a bee colony until they kick him out.

The problem is that the characters as so interesting as presented and there are a lot of interesting things going on around them (background noise, really)…but they don’t do anything but sit around and whine a lot. I found myself stopping several times and examining the page number and then wondering why I don’t know where the story is going. There were so many ways this book could have gone, but I think the author dropped the ball several times by failing to have a real cohesive plot.

While I wouldn’t say the book is “chock-full,” it certainly has more than its fair share of R-rated language and the obligatory sex scene. Skip it. There are other books out there to read before this one.

AND, I’m excited to announce here the short video that I wrote and directed my final residency at Spalding. It is below and is about two and a half minutes. Enjoy!

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