Wearing the Cape: Special Edition (Wearing the Cape 1#) by Marion G. Harmon Book Review

Write on: Mon, 30 Apr 2018 by  in Charles' Reviews Read 5587


WEARING THE CAPE is one of my all-time favorite superhero prose novels. It's up there with SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE by Austin Grossman and ORIGINS OF A D-LIST SUPERVILLAIN. I even like it more than some of my supervillainy books. It's a great contrast ot most superhero prose books that star antiheroes or supervillains, instead starring the idealistic and fundamentally good Hope as Astra.

Hope Corrigan is the Catholic socialite daughter of a New York family that suffers a mixed blessing when she's buried alive by a terrorist attack. Thankfully, this world is full of superhumans (called "Breakthroughs") who receive their powers in moments of great strife. Hope survives her near-death experience and emerges with the powers of Supergirl. Hope soon finds herself overwhelmed by all the glamour and celebrity which comes with being a superhero even as she tries to figure out how to be the best one she can. She also discovers things are much more dangerous than she expected as the terrorist attack she almost died in was deliberately designed to bring about the end of Breakthrough liberty.

Hope is a great character who manages the fine balance between sweet and idealistic while not becoming insufferable or saccharine. Part of why I like her is while she's born with a silver spoon in her mouth, it's only made her more determined to try and help others because she had more advantages than most. Hope takes everything she's doing seriously and isn't impressed with the perks of superheroism but deeply aware of the responsibility. The world-building in the book is great with examinations of the roles of superheroes, their responsibilities, legal authority (or not), and even in-universe fandoms.

The conflict between the Teatime Anarchist and his foe (who I won't spoil the identity of) is a fascinating concept that explores the potentials of time travel far better than most comics. While I don't think it's any more "realistic" than other time-travel stories, it does use the premise well. The final conflict between them is bloodier and more tragic than I expected but worked well due to the high stakes involved.

My favorite character in the book, though, is Artemis the pseudo-vampire. She's a great contrast to Hope Corrigan and the Batman to her Superman. A bounty hunter who actually doesn't like vampires let alone being one, she's a brooding cynical sort who contrasts strongly against Hope's relentless optimism. I also loved the character of Atlas who is trying desperately to be Superman but not quite experienced enough to pull it off. He's older than Hope but the two of them share a similar relentless enthusiasm for superheroism.

Wearing the Cape is a great series for someone who wants an optimistic but serious superhero world. The Special Edition comes equipped with lots of art detailing images from the universe. They help expand the story and work well with the text. I don't think any of the subsequent books are ever as good as this but this is the beginning of a series I've still tremendously enjoyed.

Last modified on Sunday, 01 December 2019 11:27
C.T. Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.