Strolling through Boston Comic Con this year I came across a table loaded with books, not comic books mind you an actual novel. The cover looked interesting (yup that’s me, judging the book by its cover). So I picked up a copy and started leafing through it that evening.
I’ve often said that if a book can grab me in the first chapter it’s got me. This one did it in ten pages. The elevator pitch is somewhere around, a Professor X type builds a new team of young super powered’s to replace his disbanded Justice League style team. Or maybe it’s (a less angsty) Breakfast Club meets the JLA?
However you describe it, what I found the moment I started reading was that Matthew recognized that our super hero tropes are deeply ingrained in our consciousness and that it’s impossible to get around. So instead of ignoring what came before him Matthew gave us new and interesting versions of those archetypes we know and love. From the synopsis: “A solar-powered girl. A ballerina vigilante. A boy with an alien sharing his brain. A girl with a black hole for a heart. And finally, a werewolf.” Now I’m sure some of those rang a bell on some level, I was going to go further in describing who reminded me of who but that wouldn’t be fair. Part of the fun of the book was discovering those influences.
The similarities aren’t what make the book though. What makes this book unique and interesting is the interpersonal relationships and the growth of the characters. We all love our superhero trysts and triangles. Who does Wonder Woman really love? Will Wolvie and Cyke ever really get along? Will Jean Grey ever realize Cyclops is an ass? Now Matthew didn’t go too far, but this is YA fiction so I was expecting the drama. He played some of the best of the X-men and JLA personality conflicts out in new and different ways, without pandering or relying too heavily on any tropes.
Then there’s the character development, he really took his time and let us get to know these characters. They are teens so the confidence issues, friendship issues, performance issues, parent issues are all very close to the surface. But don’t let that all this touchy-feely talk mislead you though, there’s plenty of action! The bad guys are really evil and bent on world domination! So they fight flying robots, huge hulking baddies, and someone whose powers can only be described as mystical!
So what have we got? We have a novel about a group of super-powered young people, being lead by a long-standing hero, who are just figuring out how they and their “gifts” can not only fit in but help the world around them. Add in the really creepy and well thought out bad guys, and it boils down to a great book for ages 12 to 112.
If you like super heroes and super heroics. If you enjoy the battle between good and evil (and the gray spaces between). Then this book is for you.
In other Indestructible news: When I reached out to Matthew when writing this, for the book cover image used above, he told me that the sequel is on its way! This is great news! Though the book doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger I still can’t wait to see what he has in store for these characters in the future! More info on a release date soon!