Review: Seven Wonders / Author: Adam Christopher / Publisher: Angry Robot / Release Date: August 28th
Novels that carry a super-hero theme broadly fall into two categories; those that try and re-invent the genre under the mistaken and naive perception that people who read books are different from those who read comics, and those who embrace the comic-book vibe wholeheartedly and deliver a solid tale of weird powers and superheroism. Seven Wonders falls firmly into the latter category, the author’s glee-filled love of comic-books radiating from every page.
Imagine a world in which the super heroes had pretty much won; most of the brightly coloured defenders of justice have hung up their capes and gone into semi-retirement. All except the world’s premier hero team, the titular Seven Wonders, who are still defending the city of San Ventura from the awesomely powerful villain known as The Cowl. It’s a stand-off that has lasted for years, and when things start to go wrong, the result is a story that is both unique and yet a homage to all the things that we love about these sort of stories.
Like his previous novel Empire State, Adam Christopher takes both an interesting concept and clever plot and twists it round so many times that you’re never sure what will happen next. It’s compulsive reading at its best, and captures the spirit of classic comic books perfectly. It has just enough of an episodic feel to retain the vibe of its source material without being pretentious or confusing.
Capturing the true spirit of spandex-clad hero comics is not an easy task (just because something looks simple it doesn’t mean it is), and though the pacing is a little too fast in some places, Adam Christopher manages the task with style and panache. He evokes classic comic book writers such as Busiek, Moore, Morrison and Gaiman, and yet retains a unique style and sense of a world.
Comic book fans, especially those who like strong stories and the myth of the hero should take a look (and if you also happen to like weird Noir detective tales, you may want to check out Empire State as well).