Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
San Ventura is helpless against super villain The Cowl's reign of terror and even its resident superheroes, the Seven Wonders, are powerless to stop him. However, the Cowl's powers begin to wane as a retail wage slave named Tony Prosdocimi finds himself gaining more powers by the day. Will Tony take down the Cowl and join the Seven Wonders?
For months now, I've been looking for a good superhero novel. Now I've found it!
Seven Wonders is a lot deeper than my quick summary indicates. Nothing is black and white. The familiar Spider-Man quote "With great power comes great responsibility" would have made a great title for it.
The characters are an interesting bunch. Tony Prosdocmi is a slacker that sells electronics at a chain store and wakes up with super powers one day. The Cowl is an analogue of both Batman and Superman and is the villain of the piece but is much more than that. He's by far the most interesting character in the first half of the book. The Cowl's sidekick, The Blackbird, is also his lover and tech expert. The members of The Seven Wonders, Aurora's Light, Sand Cat, the Dragon Star, Linnear, Hephasteus, SMART, and Bluebell, are meant to be analogues of the Justice League or The Avengers. I would have liked to see them more developed. Aurora's Light and Linnear are clearly meant to be Superman and The Flash. The others are a little harder to identify. The linchpin characters, however, are Sam Millar and Joe Milano, members of San Ventura's SuperCrime unit.
The story covers a lot of comic book ground in it's 400-something pages. Tony's story initially reminds me of Spider-Man as he learns to use his powers. The Cowl's is the story of decline and redemption. Millar and Milano's story is a lot like Gotham Central at the beginning. As for the Seven Wonders, I can't help but think of works like Watchmen and Garth Ennis's The Boys. Somewhere around the halfway mark, the stakes raise dramatically and it becomes one of those huge mega-crossovers where the world is at stake.
The writing is as you would expect for fiction of this type but Adam Christopher delivers the goods with the tools he has. He has a lot of balls in the air and boggles them a couple times toward the end but all in all does a spectacular job. My favorite parts of the book are Tony's rise and fall and the Cowl's fall and redemption. Great stuff. I like this a lot more than his previous book, Empire State.
Seven Wonders should be a pleasing read for all super hero fans. Four easy stars. I'd like to see what Adam Christopher could do writing the Justice League or the Avengers.
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