Edited by Lou Anders
Paperback: 416 pages
Available from Amazon
Summary: Fifteen original stories and novellas from some of today's most exciting voices in comics, science fiction, and fantasy. Each marvelously inventive tale shows us just how far our classic crusaders have evolved—and how the greatest of heroes are, much like ourselves, all too human.
Superman never faltered, he always knew the right thing to do, and in the end he even got the girl. I like Superman. He's a cool guy. I think however, the imperfections of flawed and sometimes tortured heroes are far more interesting. The popularity of movies like Watchmen, Kick Ass and The Losers makes me think there are many of you who feel the same way. Everything is not black and white because life is complex. I was sent a copy of Masked when I asked to participate in the blog tour for it's release this week. I was only familiar with the writing of Marjorie M. Liu, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The stories in Masked are about flawed heroes who want to do what is right, but find it's not as easy as just putting on the suit.
The stories are all worthy of two or three reads, but I wanted to say a few things about my favorites.
Thug by Gail Simone is about a boy with super strength who's brain is not as strong as his body. It's a compelling, sad and dark story that made me think about much more than superheroes.
Avatar is written by Mike Baron, who raises the question: Why aren't there more good guys willing to go out and clean up the scum of an inner city? We learn about one young man that has a plan that he's worked on for a long time. He knows it will work and we follow him during his first night as an avatar come to life.
Head Cases is written by the husband and wife team of Peter David and Kathleen David. I love this story so much. Quirky superheroes are sitting in a pub trying to figure out their place in life and a few other things. I can't give any more details but it's a must read for those who love dark humor and sarcasm.
Lastly, we have Marjorie M. Liu's contribution Call Her Savage about a superhero called back into duty, faced with those from her past who don't understand why she left in the first place. It's a dark, complex story such as we've come to expect from Ms. Liu. She, as usual, tells a heart wrenching tale through the heroine's eyes. Though it's a short story she manages to get in a couple of twists before the end, which is one thing I always love about Ms. Liu.
Masked is an awesome anthology and fans of movies like Watchmen, Hancock and other darker tales will read it again and again.
THE MASKED CONTEST
It's very cool that I am allowed to give away one copy of Masked. To enter, simply answer my question, and leave an email IF you don't have one attached to a google account.
How do you like your superheroes? Perfect like Superman, or flawed like Wolverine or Hancock? Why?
The contest will run through August 1, 2010 and it's open to the U.S. only.