Book Review: The Good Fight 2: Villains

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The Good Fight 2: Villains, an anthology from the Pen and Cape Society

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.

 

MY REVIEW

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!

Book Review: Even Villains Fall in Love

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Even Villains Fall in Love (Book 1 of the Heroes and Villains Series) by Liana Brooks
A super villain at the top of his game must choose between the world he wants and the woman he loves. 

If you believe the rumors you know that Doctor Charm, the wickedly sexy super villain, retired in shame seven years ago after his last fight with the super hero Zephyr Girl. The fact that the charming Evan Smith-father of four and husband of the too-beautiful-to-be-real Tabitha-bears a resemblance to the defeated Doctor is pure coincidence. And, please, ignore the minions. 

Everything is perfect in the Smith household, until Tabitha announces her return to work as a super hero. Evan was hoping to keep her distracted until after he rigged the 2012 presidential election, but-genius that he is-Evan has a backup plan. 

In his basement lab, Evan has a machine whose sole purpose is keeping Tabitha hungry for him. But children and labs don’t mix. The machine is broken, and Tabitha storms out, claiming she no longer knows him. 

World domination takes a back seat to meeting his daughters’ demands to get Mommy back right now. This time his genius isn’t going to be enough-he’s going to need both his evil alter-ego, and the blooming super abilities of his children to save his wife. But even his most charming self might not be enough to save their marriage.

 

MY REVIEW
Evan Smith was a super-villain with an ethical code (morals are different from ethics) who fell in love with a super-hero. He was *mostly* willing to give up world domination if he could feel like king of the world with his wife Tabitha; he still dabbled a bit to keep food on the table and for the intellectual exercise. But in general he tried to live by the moral code of his woman in order to keep her happy and in his bed.

Then something happens to his wife, leaving him with four active daughters. And both her black-and-white moral code and his grey-scale ethical code get jettisoned by the biological (mate and offspring) imperatives. What will this nearly-reformed super villain do to save his wife?

The book is short as appropriate for the novelette romance genre. The minions could have used more fleshing out; we find out more about his gizmos than his minions.

Linda Brooks never forgets the story is both (1) a romance and (2) a superhero adventure. She mixes the two genres well.

I reread the book with the release of the third book of the series. Still a very good yarn; enjoyed it as much with the second read (2 years later) as I did the first time.