Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for Ultrahuman Protection (Andrea Vernon #1) by Alexander C. Kane Book Review

Write on: Sat, 22 Jan 2022 by  in Charles' New Reviews Read 799


ANDREA VERNON AND THE CORPORATION FOR ULTRAHUMAN PROTECTION is an absolutely hilarious book that I recommend not only buying it but definitely picking up all three volumes as well as the audiobook version. Andrea Vernon not only manages to satirize corporate culture, workplace drama, superheroes, and politics but does so in a way that you never feel like you're being talked at. It is such a delightfully silly and ridiculous world that you almost miss how smart a lot of the satire is. It reminds me of Pratchett and, more recently, J. Zachary Pike's Orconomics.

The premise is that Andrea Vernon, New York 2nd generation Haitian American, is hired as a secretary for the titular Corporation for Ultrahuman Protection AKA CUP. Cup is a corporation that handles the superhero contracts for much of America. If you have problems with supervillains, alien invasion, mole people, robots, or natural disasters then they are the people to turn to. There are other superhero corporations, especially Da Superheroes in the Bronx, but CUP has the advantage of the world's greatest salesmen. Oh and their superheroes aren't terrible either.

Much of the book is about Andrea Vernon adapting to her peculiar office environment. The Senior Partners of CUP are like the ones from Wolfram and Hart in Angel, mysterious and all-powerful, but their daily boss is Ms. Oh who embodies every Southern stereotype imaginable (except for being Korean). She also has to deal with mad scientists, underpaid superheroes, and the fact there's a giant alien egg that has landed in the Bronx. My favorite part of the book was where Andrea had to suit up in an Iron Man-esque suit of armor to make sure their marketing guy got to a meeting in time. This despite the fact her body type doesn't fit into it due to being built for a Romanian gymnast.

The mysterious space egg provides much of the story's primary plotline and is a source of great amusement. While CUP the best qualified to handle the world destroying threat, there's countless considerations that need to be taken into account like the fact the Bronx is outside their jurisdiction and they need to acquire the contract for its handling before moving in. The government is also of the mind that CUP is overcharging and Andrea's state senator brother is leading the charge against private superhero contractors.

My favorite character is probably Doctor Well Actually who has the power to answer virtually any sort of question whatsoever but requires him to be correcting someone else. This makes him probably the most insufferable person on Earth and has certainly caused his girlfriend no end of frustration. However, he's an incredibly amusing take on the Smart Guy and I love how Andrea plays off of him in particular. I'm also fond of the 8ft tall, The Big Axe, who is basically their equivalent of Thor but who has an especial fondness for Andrea.

I've always enjoyed superhero worlds that try to get into the nitty gritty about how they function. One of my favorite character concepts was Damage Control from Marvel Comics in the Eighties. You know, the people who clean up after superhero battles. I also was a huge fan of She-Hulk when it focused on her being a lawyer for her fellow superheroes (and some supervillains). This deals with the idea of government contractors and just because Andrea works for some doesn't mean that it agrees they should be an unregulated industry (and this becomes increasingly clear in the sequels).

This book is very silly and all the more entertaining for it. It's the kind of book where a superhero demands the surrender of a bunch of alien invaders and has no idea what to do when said surrender is actually achieved. Bahni Turpin is an immensely likable narrator and does Andrea well. About my only regret is the fact that I do like to read along and the third book is an Audible exclusive.

Available here

Last modified on Thursday, 14 April 2022 22:26
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.