SEVEN WONDERS by Adam Christopher, Angry Robot, p/b, Â£7.99, e-book, Â£5.49, www.angryrobotbooks.com
Reviewed by Phil Ambler
BANG! KAPOW! YOWZER! Adam Christopher’s superhero novel comes packed with thrills, spills and spandex but is it capable of fighting the good fight?
Like any good summer blockbuster, Seven Wonders throws us straight into the heat of the action, an attempted bank heist masterminded by the evil Cowl, San Ventura’s only remaining supervillain. Enter, stage left, mild mannered Tony Prosdocimi electronic retail assistant, and latest superhero on the block to foil his plans. And so our adventure begins.
What we are presented with is a tale of heroes and villains where the Cowl plots to steal the secrets of the Seven Wonders, San Ventura’s resident superhero team led by Aurora’s Light, and lay them to rest once and for good. Throw into the mix police detectives Sam Millar and Joe Milano to add a bit of investigative skills with the aforementioned Tony, an average guy who suddenly finds he has superpowers, lurking in the background and we have a real humdinger of a story brewing. Meanwhile a dark threat is on the horizon that no-one could predict, not even the mighty Aurora.
Seven Wonders is a graphic novel without the pictures, Christopher leaves that up to the reader’s imagination but his excellent description sketches most of it for you. The eponymous Seven Wonders, a collective of superheroes charged with protecting the city could all walk straight out of a Marvel or DC universe with jaws chiselled and spandex in ample supply. You can tell that Christopher has a real passion for this genre and it shows through in his writing. There’s a mischievous streak to the writing, a tongue in cheek sense of humour which bubbles under the surface and you can see this in full force towards the end of the book when we are introduced to a plethora of superheroes.
Seven Wonders juggles multiple characters and has plenty of plot twists to keep the reader avidly engaged throughout. Secret identities, duplicitous sidekicks and secret laden protagonists are used well with reveals genuinely catching the reader by surprise, a feat poorly executed by other writers at times. What Christopher does well is present the moral stance of the superheroes. There to battle evil and protect the city but, after all, what good is a hero with no nemesis to defeat? A question which has serious ramifications later for the city.
There is a lot to cram in to Seven Wonders and, even at over 400 pages, you do feel as if some of the resolutions of the acts within the book are a little too quick, robbing you of the full battle royal which you were hoping for. Most of the plot points feel important but it takes a long while to get to the finale, one which is a plot point too far potentially, and the good fights have had to suffer to get us there.
As a non-comic book reader, this was an enjoyable read and one I would definitely recommend you go out and buy. After all, how are you going to find out about the talents of Pangolin the Protector otherwise?