Indomitable (The Push Chronicles Book 1) by J.B. Garner
File Size: 1296 KB
Print Length: 177 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: J. B. Garner; 2 edition (August 31, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
I have a long and complicated relationship with comic books. I grew up in the era of Fredric Wertham, who convinced my mother and father and many other people's mothers and fathers that comic books Rot Your Brain. Subsequently, I was, formally, forbidden to own comic books during my childhood. (By the way, those of you who want to relive those glorious days of brain rotting fun should go visit www.superdickery.com. You will love it.)
Of course, this wasn't going to stick. Every other kid I knew or played with read comic books (usually Marvel). Bronx neighborhoods, from the standpoint of comic aficionados, were broken into Marvel and DC nations. My block stood with Stan Lee, and we scorned DC, particularly Batman, who in the 60s was not particularly grim nor angst ridden. Everyone felt more was going on there with Robin than a simple adoptive arrangement and we didn't approve.
Girls read Archie and those disgusting romance comics. If a guy was caught reading those, you were normally treated as if you were infected with hair lice.
Thus, I grew up in an atmosphere of deception and duplicity. I would buy comics regularly from the local lunch and candy stores, read them outside, hide them under my shirt when entering my apartment, and secret them under the toy chest in the bedroom my sister and I shared when we were small. Eventually, the space would become crowded and a new purchase would edge out from its sanctuary like a flat, colored, Judas goat and tip off Mom. She would then rake the stash out and throw it down the incinerator. The cycle would then begin again. I guess we were both making a point.
(Also, because of comics, I learned a painful lesson in personal family betrayal. But that's a tale for another day.)
When I hit my teens, the strictures against comics were relaxed and I continued reading them. However, I have to admit that as I grew older, I realized that the old trouble maker Wertham had a point about comics. Like soap operas, they didn't end nor truly progress in time. Fifty one years after he first swung across the New York skyline, Peter Parker is still a young man. As a kid I could identify with him, but now he's just an annoying millennial who won't get off the sofa and get a real job. It may be hard for him, though. Peter once made a living as a freelance photographer for a newspaper, but that job doesn't exist anymore. How does he earn money these days? I don't know. Maybe he drives for Uber or Lyft?
It's just as bad with the other super folk. Batman and Robin are still creepy and should just come out of the closet and get married already. It's time for Wonder Woman to fess up to being a dominatrix, tie up Superman, and stomp on him with her stiletto heels. I don't have much to say about Aquaman. He was lame then and he's lame now, so I'll just leave him alone.
Yes, yes, I know. Reboots, alternate universes, different timelines. But how many times can you pull that stunt before it gets older than the life spans of some of these super folk? I mean, aren't Batman and Superman closing in on 100 by now? At a certain point, their super powers should consist of being able to throw used Depends at super villains at super speed. Crime would drop to almost zero in no time.
And have you ever actually worn a spandex costume? I suggest you never do. Even if you think you're in good shape, your self-esteem may not survive that first glimpse in the mirror. If I ever become a super hero, I want the super power of being able to make super heroes look good in tasteful cotton clothing. I'd be dating Supergirl in no time. (Not that I'd want to as I'm happily married. I'm just saying that she'd want to date me and I'd have to gently let her down.)
"But what about Maus?," I hear you saying. Yes, Maus is a piece of comic literature (oh, sorry, I mean "visual novel.") But World War II was real and tragic. When Superman died at the hands of Doomsday, did anyone think he was really dead? Of course not. Did you feel a sense of real loss? No. Everyone knew we were just being set up to buy the collectible issue where he comes back to life. The bastards wouldn't even let the poor sweet body of Gwen Stacy rest in peace. They cloned her, the savages.
(And no, Watchmen wasn't art. It was pretentious and if you didn't figure out the plot well before the end of the series you're dumber than The Rhino.)
The above is a very long winded way of saying that I realized comics are silly.
So why did I agree to review Indomitable, a novel about men and women grokking the spandex? Because no one who has ever loved comics ever really stops loving them. We just put away childish things and become adults. But, at my age, I'm heading back down the road to childish so maybe it's time to give silly a bit of a break.
Indomitable by J.B Garner kicks off with an origins tale. You see, our heroine, Indomitable, who starts life off as plain old Irene, has a boyfriend named Eric. Eric's parents died in a car crash. Eric misses Mom and Dad an awful lot and uses a mysterious quantum atomic particle combined with Irene's bio feedback machine to create a worldwide phenomena called "The Whiteout." The Whiteout in turn creates the "Pushed," ordinary people with super powers! When it's all over, Irene becomes Indomitable and she's joined by The Extinguisher, The Human Tank, Mind's Eye, Hexagon, Medusa, et al and their evil counterparts. (I'll let you decide if you want to lower yourself to some Mystery Men jokes at this point and give you time to get it out of your system.)
Eric is transformed into Epic. He's kind of a Superman, but with a will to power. Wouldn't you know it, Indomitable and Epic do not agree about the future of mankind in this new era and begin a tangled love/hate relationship which dominates the ongoing narrative of the book.
There's also an incredibly Evil Super Villainess. This unique character has the ability to destroy computer components with just the power of thought, erase all traces of her dastardly deeds, bring thousands of innocents to the brink of ultimate despair and with just a single phrase paralyze the forces of justice and goodness. Her name is "Lois Lerner."
OK, I just made that last part up, but you have to admit Lerner certainly looks like an evil super villainess. But there is a really evil super villain. Well, sort of. Part of the dramatic tension of Indomitable is maybe Eric is the real villain. Or maybe he's just misunderstood. Time, and the sequels to Indomitable, will tell!.
What's that I hear you saying? None of this sounds very likely? Oh, yeah, right. Like it makes perfect sense that a radioactive spider bite would give you super strength and the ability to crawl up walls. Or that being caught at ground zero during a nuclear test would turn you green and enable you to jump miles into the air. Or that a guy with mercury for skin rides around the galaxy in outer space where there's no water on a surfboard. So just shut up and let the review continue without any further carping. You want real science, go watch Bill Nye or something.
One of the great things about comics is the fun you can have renaming the super characters you read about with names you feel are more appropriate to their powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. For instance, there's a girl turned into crystallized carbon early in the book. I have a feeling we may see her again. What should her super name be? Diamond Lass? Crystalline? I vote for Madonna Woman! Epic I've renamed "Superego." Indomitable, our heroine, spends a lot of time nagging Supere...oops, Epic about the big mess he's made of things (not that you can blame her), so from time to time I think of her as Kvetching Woman.
Now, how does Indomitable read? It's great silly fun. The action is slam bang, the characters, within the limitations of the genre, are well realized, and at the end of the first book, I really wanted to know if Epic and Indomitable are going to one day work it out. It's a tale that will take you back to those rainy Saturday afternoons when you'd curl up in your room with the latest releases of Green Lantern, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and maybe a couple of annuals and rot your brain.
And dream, for just a moment, that you too could fly.
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