Title: Super Human
Author: Michael Carroll
Series: The New Heros #4
Once there was a man who was more than a man, a warrior who single-handedly conquered the known world and whose death is still a mystery. In the present, though, superhumans are a bit more common, and when a virus starts taking out all of the adults, it’s up to a group of teenage heroes-to-be (and one teenage con artist) to figure out what’s going on and to stop the Fifth King from coming again.
Maybe I should’ve read The Quantum Prophecy first (I felt like I have, but I don’t see it marked), but in any case, what little I’ve read of that book convinces me this one is much stronger. And since this trilogy looks like a prequel to the other, it’s not even a problem to read them out of order. Basically, don’t be fooled by the #4 designation—this one reads fine by itself.
The choice of villain is interesting. Krodin is not exactly evil, but he’s about like a natural disaster. Powerful, amoral, and not something anyone wants around. But his abilities make him formidable even when other people with super powers are around. His chapters in the past alternate with the story in the present, until the two stories intersect. (I’m a little disappointed by how it ended for him, as reading the summary of the next book was enough to tell me my guess about what really happened was correct. Oh well.)
In the present, we begin with Lance, who is about as far from the model of “hero” as a kid can get. I really liked how Thunder confronts him. Thunder correctly deduces that Lance has zero regard for anyone outside himself, and devises a clever lesson to help drive the point home. (It was fun to see a budding sociopath get his due.) But what Lance lacks in empathy or heroics he makes up for with smarts and a knowledge of how a criminal’s mind works. And he has a big mouth.
The other characters that make up the teen hero team are more traditionally minded heros. I liked the little details, like Abby continually fumbling with introducing herself because she can’t think of a good hero name for herself, or Thunder’s absolute refusal to let anyone find out his secret identity (which drives Lance nuts), or Roz’s creativity with her powers.
The action is strong and fairly nonstop, which makes for a fast-paced book. And it’s not just the battles—Lance in particular has a way of walking right into interesting situations and making them worse.
All in all, this is a fun read, and a decent addition to the superhero genre. I rate this book Recommended.