Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Devil's Cape - Rob Rogers

Impressive first effort.

Also good to see a novel that is not trying to be an ironic, hip satire, which gets really old, really fast, especially if from the less talented.

This is most definitely not that, and much more in the Wild Cards tradition. In fact, if you moved some of that to Rogers' Louisiana corruption sink in Devil's Cape, it would fit right in to this story of gangsters and superhumans.

If the Wild Cards consortium was looking to give some new people a crack, I think they could happily give Mr. Rogers a shot.

Enough comparisons though - although like the first Wild Cards book this has an historical progression, although all by the one author.

Events of 20 odd years before the present day see a spectacular death that leads to the formation of a circus of crime - and not the really lame Marvel version with guys with swirly hypno-hats, either.

Then, things don't go well for the pre-eminent superteam of the time when they come looking to get their freak revenge on.

The city of Devil's Cape, like Gotham at times - and is actually somewhat reminiscent of Peter David's Bene Noir - is controlled by crime, and one powerful charismatic and possibly superhuman figure, in the Robber Baron.

He takes his name in the tradition of the pirate lords that caused the city to be established.

Throw in your competing gang lords of Italian and Greek and other origins, and you have your crime story.

Caught in the middle are two brothers (whose uncle is a greek crimelord), both very powerful, and on opposite sides, and a couple of newly empowered others.

So a crime story, and violent, but it is not particularly bent and twisted beyond that, which is perhaps not surprising given the publisher.

This is the sort of book that I start, and can't put down and have to finish.

Excellent work. Anyone that likes superhero fiction should absolutely get this book.

4.5 out of 5

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