12 April, 2012

Review - Corrupts Absolutely? Edited by Lincoln Crisler

I always thought that if I got a superpower it'd be something like fire coming out of my butt. Everyone else gets the handy dandy and oh so convenient power from palms or the little less convenient plasma from eyes, but I'd have to be like, "Give me just a sec..." *zip* "...alright, I'm ready to do this."

Corrupts Absolutely? [US] [UK] [Kindle] is an anthology of 21 stories that deals with superheroes and metahumans and their powers. What would we actually do if we had a power? Hopefully people would do good, but like the title of the anthology says, wouldn't it more likely corrupt people absolutely as the saying goes.

Retribution by Tim Marquitz - Let's just say this is quite the explosive beginning. Okay, I have more to say than that. This one deals with a man who's lost his family in 9/11 and watched it happen. Revenge consumes his life and he has the means to make something happen. (4/5)

Hollywood Villany by Weston Ochse - This was a hard one to put down. A "kid," who really just looks like a kid, but who's actually quite old follows a man home - "I want my two dollars." This story has a sick twist that was entirely unexpected. (4/5)

Mental Man by William Todd Rose - I really enjoyed the concept of this one, a man can get inside the victims' or the killer's head and see what happened, but in this case the killer smashes all the mirrors in the house and hides his face well enough he can't figure it out. I would love to see this as a full length novel. (4/5)

The Real Church by Jeremy Hepler - A guy resurrects a dog and then, with his mother, starts a church. This, in my opinion, is one of the most truthful stories of what someone would do with a "superpower." (3/5)

Ozymandias Revisited by A.S. Fox - No, this is not a Watchmen tribute, but has to do with the poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Worth a read before reading this story as it is often referenced with it's own changes. Ozymandias Revisited is about a guy who has ultimate power, who can do anything he wants, which he also does. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, and everything else. This all comes with costs, some what you may think, others not expected. Revisited has a very unique style that's worth a read in and of itself. (3.5/5)

Enlightened by Sin by Jason M. Tucker - Another I'd love to see turned into a novel and my favorite so far, Enlightened is about a Dexter-like character, but who has the power to actually know the sins of those he kills (unlike Dexter's "I proved one bad thing so they're dead" take). Victor's tracking a brutal serial killer, but what's great about this one is that it expands the whole concept and world - there are superheroes, but who are sponsored by corporations. They help, but at the same time make sure to help themselves. (5/5)

The Origin of Slashy by Jeff Strand - This is how a serial killer is made. I was expecting a clown going into this for some reason, but this concept was creepy too. Slashy starts off with Kaylie getting raped and then finding out she can't be hurt. (3.5/5)

Conviction by Edward M. Erdelac - Told from the perspective of a young black boy and also as if he had written it, misspellings and everything. Abassi meets with a shrink about a picture he drew and tells about his rough life in the ghetto. He likes the shrink and decides to follow her advice. Conviction kind of had a similar concept to Ozymandias but also very different. (4/5)

Threshold by Kris Ashton - Similar to Enlightened by Sin in that the main character can tell whether a person has done something wrong, but in this one he feels pain until he does something about it. Great ending and great story. (4/5)

Oily by A.D. Spencer - About a superhero who gets hints from her dad about who to track down, she goes about as Cat's Eye. Enjoyable but a bit forgettable at the same time. (3/5)

Hero by Joe McKinney - A man, to around 7 minutes ahead, can predict the future - so of course he's being held captive. A highly enjoyable story. (4/5)

Pride by Wayne Ligon - One of my favorites, I think I like the stories a bit more that do a good job displaying the powers. This reminded me a lot of Shadow Ops: Control Point where powers are highly regulated by the government, but that doesn't necessarily mean controlled. (4.5/5)

G-Child by Malon Edwards - A girl with parental issues attempts to stop a similarly power-enhanced teammate. Lots of action, but I didn't love it. The story switches back and forth between the action and her earlier years. (3/5)

Static by Jason Gehlert - I loved the plot, the ideas, and the action, but had a hard time following exactly what everyone could do as far as powers go and some of the dialogue was a bit stilted, a bit awkward. (3.5/5)

Illusion by Karina Fabian - Probably one of the most realistic in terms of what would actually happen if someone had psychic abilities - they'd go crazy. Illusion follows a kid's experience with this. (4/5)

Sabre by Anthony Laffan - The closest to an actual comic, this had great action, great scenes, and was lots of fun. It follows Sabre, a superhero dogged by reporters with lots of secrets to hide. (4/5)

Crooked by Lee Mather - The name of this story says a lot more than I realized when I started reading. A man with certain handicaps runs into an ambush while breaking into a home. Crooked is one of the darker stories, I wasn't a big fan of the parts that discussed children being injured or worse (I've become a softy in this area), but otherwise a very worthy installment. (3.5/5)

Fixed by Trisha J. Wooldridge - A woman, often marginalized by the men she's working with, both because of her gender and because of her handicaps, becomes a big player. But, is it because of her expertise or because of blackmail. Fixed wasn't my favorite, but very well done. (3.5/5)

Acquainted with the Night by Cat Rambo - One of the shortest stories if not the shortest, this story describes the origin, the career, the arrival, and the announcement of our superhero. I liked the unique structure and this story is the only to involve aliens so far. (4/5)

Gone Rogue by Wayne Helge - I mentioned some of these stories are very close to being comics, well, Gone Rogue is more like an '80s superhero cartoon. Filled with campy superhero and villain names (like The Midshipman and Kitty Twister), a teenage sidekick has to step up. (4/5)

Max and Rose by Andrew Bourelle - One of my favorites, if not my favorite, Max and Rose is a powerful story. I was going to say it's about what it means to be a superhero, but it's really more the opposite - if you're not being a superhero with your powers what does that make you? What if you're taking advantage of those powers? (5/5)

Corrupts Absolutely? is a great anthology with a concept that never gets old. Each of the stories is incredibly unique, even the ones that deal with a similar power or theme. I had a great time with this and I didn't dislike a single story. That's hard to do. Highly Recommended!

4 out of 5 Stars (Loved it)

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher


Karina Fabian said...

Thanks for the review. I especially appreciated the comments on the individual stories.

If anyone is interested, Deryl, who is the child in "Illusions" has his own novel, Mind Over Mind. http://www.karinafabian.com/index.php?name=Content&pid=46