Nobody Gets The Girl
Phobos Books, 244 pp.
Perhaps it’s time for me to stop reviewing superhero novels; I always end up comparing them to the Wild Cards series and it’s seldom a favorable comparison. In this case though it’s not an entirely fair comparison. Where Wild Cards is dark, grounded in realism, and written in the style of hard science fiction by major science fiction authors, Nobody Gets the Girl seems to be much more aware of its comic book lineage. Mixing equal parts of action-adventure and gleeful parody, Maxey creates a world that pays homage to the bygone days of comic’s Silver Age. You know, fun.
Richard Rogers is a network manager and part-time standup comic who—thanks to a time travel accident—no longer exists. The mad scientist (Dr. Know) who’s screw-up erased Rogers’ life recruits him to be an invisible man for his superhero team. It’s a small team/family reminiscent of the Fantastic Four that consists of Dr. Know, his two daughters (Rail Blade and The Thrill), and Richard Rogers a.k.a Nobody. The book is full of clever word play and some truly bizarre takes on comic book clichés. Although the action is first-rate I found that I enjoyed the personal moments the most—Nobody coming to terms with how well his family did without him, Dr. Know’s wife attempting to cope with a family full of superheroes, and Rail Blade and The Thrill trying to reconcile their own desires against their father’s guilt-driven ambitions. It’s an effective story full of entertaining characters and explosive plot twists. My only problem with the book was the extraordinarily grand build-up given in the two introductions (one from the publisher and one from comics legend James Shooter) to the novel. My advice: Skip the intros, go straight to the story.