Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? by Andrez Bergen
|Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? by Andrez Bergen|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: What do you get if you cross Marvel-comicesque prose with detective noir and a bit of adult language? A light, fun breath of fresh air for fans and curious passers-by alike. Blow Marvel, this is marvellous! (Ouch!)|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 473||Date: September 2013|
|Publisher: Perfect Edge|
|External links: Author's website|
In search of entertainment, Jack crosses over from real-world Melbourne to Heropa, where he becomes (dah daaah!) Southern Cross. However, there's not much time for him to acclimatise to his new lycra-clad role or his super-power. As the new addition to The Equalizers, he has work to do. The heroes of Heropa are starting to die in a totally unprecedented manner so Jack joins forces with the quartet starting with an 'e' (but with a symbol looking suspiciously like a 'z) in an attempt to restore law and order and to remain alive. For the rules have changed in this once-virtual world: death in Heropa now means death in real life too.
Aussie Andrez Bergen has had one heck of a life. He's created a comic, music (as 'Little Nobody'), has written for important newspapers like The Melbourne Age, various magazines, books, short stories and even ran a record label for 15 years. He now lives in Japan with his wife and daughter, about to be joined by a whole lot of acclaim from the marriage of detective noir and Marvelesque superheroes in this remarkable non-graphic comic novel, with pictures.
I'd best explain… This isn't a graphic novel as in a comic book. It's a fully worded, full-length story-novel. However, there are some beautifully executed pencil drawings scattered among the chapters to aid our minds' eyes as they take on Andrez's fantastical world, detective noir style. However, don't be put off if you aren't a fan of the likes of Batman, The Avengers or Sam Spade for that matter, as the author has created a world and cast that will appeal to anyone with a sense of humour.
Jack/Southern Cross is more bemused than brave as he nips over to Heropa for a bit of fun but discovers this isn't the end-of-the-working-day escapism he was expecting. From our viewpoint, the fun never stops and never grows tired (a great feat for an endeavour like this). The jokes and the many cultural references may detract from the sense of peril one normally experiences reading a whodunit, but it's so cleverly combined, who cares?
In this almost through the looking glass universe, goody Capes mix with ungifted Blandos and avoid the baddies (the wonderfully entitled League of Unmitigated Rotters, reminding me of a name of which [[:Category:Douglas Adams|Douglas Adams would have been proud). Real-world people get a mention (Japanese artist Ryoji Arai for instance) or a cameo (the Equalizers have a caretaker named Stan – one for the dyed-in-the-printer-ink fans!) and there's still room for a nod to shows like Thunderbirds, The Simpsons and eclectic gags such as the reference to the French Revolution. (Search-engine Marat when you get to him if it doesn't dawn, to begin with.) There's also room for a great conspiracy theory.
There's so much going on that this isn't the sort of novel you only read the once. I'm sure I missed loads so will be going back in, but with a sense of anticipation and excitement as this time, I know the treat that lies ahead.
If this appeals from a super-hero viewpoint, we recommend Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero by Grant Morrison which looks into the elements behind the phenomenon. If it's appealed because you like a bit of detective noir with original humour built-in, you'll love Harry Lipkin, Private Eye: The Oldest Detective in the World by Barry Fantoni. We also have a review of Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth by Andrez Bergen.
You can read more book reviews or buy Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? by Andrez Bergen at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? by Andrez Bergen at Amazon.com.
Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? by Andrez Bergen is in the Top Ten Crime Novels 0f 2013.
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