By: C.T. Phillips
Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
GoodReads Summary: Gary Karkofsky is an ordinary guy with an ordinary life living in an extraordinary world. Supervillains, heroes, and monsters are a common part of the world he inhabits. Yet, after the death of his hometown’s resident superhero, he gains the amazing gift of the late champion’s magical cloak. Deciding he prefers to be rich rather than good, Gary embarks on a career as Merciless: The Supervillain Without Mercy.
But is he evil enough to be a villain in America’s most crime-ridden city?
Gary soon finds himself surrounded by a host of the worst of Falconcrest City’s toughest criminals. Supported by his long-suffering wife, his ex-girlfriend turned professional henchwoman, and a has-been evil mastermind, Gary may end up being not the hero they want but the villain they need.
I’ve never properly fit into any group and comic-lovers is one of those groups I spend a lot of time on the outside looking in. I discovered a long time ago that I love the stories of superheroes. I love art that goes into a graphic novel. But I’m also cheap. I have been since my allowance was $2 a week. I mean, why spend the equivalent of a novel on a thin magazine that entertained me for 25-30 minutes when I could buy an actual book that maybe I could stretch out a whole week to read amid all the activities of my childhood? I loved the comfort of knowing I still had more to read and would carry a book around, reading in the school cafeteria, standing in line with my mother at the grocery store, when riding around with mom on her errands….you get the picture.
Anyway, comic books were not the most bang I could get for my buck back in the day. But that never stopped me from finding a way to know the story. Others who had extensive collections would tell me the stories and I’d listen to the geekfest arguments intensely. So even though I was so sheltered as a child, that in 1986 I didn’t know who Michael Jackson was, I knew Wonder Woman, Superman, Spiderman and any Xman you could name.
Add that outside-looking-in thing, to the cartoons of the nineties, the movies lately and ignore the fact that I’d like to hear the story from someone else who’s read the comic and you might just get why I like superheroes but have never been fully invested.
Take that perspective rather than the geeky one and you’ll understand why I jumped on this book as soon as I could.
I loved the cover from the start even though I still can’t pinpoint what it says to me. It makes my lips twitch up every time I see it.
Two things I found most interesting while listening:
- I thought it quite similar to Please Don’t Tell My parents I’m a Supervillain by Richard Roberts. Sure the MC’s are quite different. Bad Penny is a young girl with aspirations of being a superhero with talents that lean toward supervillainy. Merciless is a married man with aspirations of being a supervillain gifted with a dead superhero’s cloak and an actual moral compass.
- Merciless is married. Merciless is in a good Merciless lives in suburbia. I found it highly refreshing.
The Rules of Supervillainy is campy and staggered as if someone put together a series of five graphic novels in one place. It is perfect for the book reader in me looking for more bang for my buck. Rather than buying each of those five comics, I’ve got the whole story in one place. That makes me jump and yeah inside.
This is not technically an origin story even being the first in a series. Nor does it leave the reader completely hanging at the end (a thing that some writers are doing to boost sales that just leaves dryness in my mouth).
Yes, there is an opening at the end for more. However, for this part of the story, the main threads are tied up neatly at the end even though the pattern might be a bit more random than some would like. The open end is just what you would expect from the first of a novel about superheroes and villains. You don’t want it all wrapped up in a neat little bow when you just know another adventure waits just around the corner.
Jeffery Kafer is familiar to me from his work on Preternatural Affairs, another series I completely recommend. While he doesn’t have the range of someone like Patrick McLean, his straight telling of the story with just a hint of emotion reminds me of how I read to my kids. (My husband is the one who does the voices.) Everything is clear and dry and a perfect rendition of how I think Gary would actually be telling the story. I really don’t know how Mr. Kafer got through this with a straight face. He is such a professional. I applaud the result.