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The second anthology from the authors of the Pen & Cape Society contains eleven all-new tales from the wrong side of the law. The proceeds of this collection will benefit long-time comic book author James Hudnall, who has fallen upon hard times, losing a foot to diabetes and becoming homeless. Bad things can happen to anyone, and the Pen & Cape Society will help where it can. They may write about villains, but they’re a pretty heroic bunch. The anthology includes stories by Nick Ahlhelm, Scott Bachmann, Mike Baron, Drew Hayes, Ian Thomas Healy, Hydrargentium, T. Mike McCurley, Landon Porter, R.J. Ross, Cheyanne Young, and Jim Zoetewey.
Oh my did the second anthology blow the first of The Good Fight anthologies from Pen and Cape Society away. But then Villains always make the Hero – and these Villains make you shiver in your cape.
“Frankie” (Scott Bachmann) stunned me. I ended with a “Wow” when I finished reading it and needed to walk away a moment. This was from the same man who produced the cute “Bedtime Story” in the first anthology. Coolest/creepiest superpower ever – how does one even begin to discover it … and then continue to use it to replace … everything. Face, eyes, … shudder.
“Goon #3” by Drew Hayes, who wrote the incredible “Out Of Mind” short story in the first anthology, hits it out of the park again. His protagonists are so identifiable.
“I am SKYSTEP” by RJ Ross is from his YA “Cape High Series” and is the first one to really engage me. The relationship between Skystep and the superheroes around her can only be described as “it’s complicated”. Even more complicated than Batman and Catwoman.
“Stripped Down Blues” by Mike Baron (not in the first anthology) … oh my, total … yeah, villains. This could have found a home in a number of different genres. Stick around for the ending.
“Lemonade”, “Here Come the Pain”, etc. Not a single story in this anthology fails to knock it out of the ballpark and past the moon.
Buy it – plus all proceeds go to a great cause. I loved Alpha Flight!