Tor, April 2011
Celia West is the daughter of the leaders of a superhero crime fighting team, a fact that did not bring her much pleasure growing up. She loves her parents but can't stand being around them for great lengths of time. And, since she lacks any superpower, she is often certain the feeling is mutual. She left home, broke off relations with them for eight years, as she earned her accounting degree and CPA.
There is an evil genius named Destructor who lack superpowers but has never let that stop him from attempting to destroy Commerce City. He's finally been arrested, charged with financial malfeasance, not paying taxes, et al, and the DA wants Celia on the case as a forensic CPA. There is a history between Destructor and Celia that makes her take the case with many reservations, most importantly that she not be required to testify. That doesn't work out as well as planned with her resulting testimony only adding more complications to already complicated life.
In her investigations she begins to discover more and more details about the origins of the both the bad guys and the good guys. Through flashbacks as the trial and her investigations progress, we learn both Celia's history and the history of the super heroes and villains of the city. The best part of the flashbacks are the continuing kidnap episodes as each new criminal attempts to use Celia as a shield against her parents. Imagine getting bored with your kidnappers!
This is a comic book without pictures – that is basic to the encounter - and it works very well. Knowing too much about the heroes and villains will detract from the enjoyment of the tale but know that the interrelationship between the characters is played flawlessly. Celia's character makes sense; her love life makes sense, and the progress toward conclusion makes sense.
Vaughn tells a good tale. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and recommend it without hesitation.
© 2012 Dan Bieger
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