vrijdag 19 april 2013

Interview with E A Bruce

Eric A. Bruce has written a superhero novel called Titan... Here's your chance to learn more about him and the book.

1. Tell us something about yourself.
-I’m from Northern Virginia, US. I got married last year to my girlfriend of almost 10 years. I used to play hockey. I am a cinephile; I love movies and TV--I’m a big Lost fan and The Big Lebowski is my favorite movie. Generally, I enjoy superhero and horror movies.

I have been writing since I was a boy, maybe 9 or 10 years old. The first story I received any recognition for was called “Deadly Schooling” and it was about my 6th grade teacher being a serial killer. I actually submitted it for a writing assignment. My teacher, the same one who I depicted as a killer, loved it and really encouraged me. I’ve been focused on writing ever since.

Right now, I write in my free time, but I dream of doing it full time. I’ve just published my first book and I’m working on a second.

2. What is your newest book about?
Titan is about a high school senior who discovers that he is a superhero called Titan and his family has carried this power for generations. Titan is a special element mix that lives in the marrow of the hero’s bones. He can draw it out with his will and it becomes a suit that he wears made of fine metal threads, which can harden, like armor. He can also manipulate it to make weapons and other objects. This gives him great strength, quickness, and healing resilience. There is another ability, too--a frightening connection to “The Source,” which is basically a high-speed internet connection to heaven and hell jacked into his mind that he cannot control.

But no one ever told Eric Steele about any of this; his parents tried to hide it. The power is always passed to the first born child of the previous Titan, but Eric’s older sister, Sarah, died. His parents thought they could give Eric a normal life. But Sarah passed the power to Eric because evil is rising and it’s important that Titan faces it.

Meanwhile, Eric’s best friend, Jim, has been kidnapped by a secret military group that wants to use Titan’s power for its own ends. They’re led by a Colonel who comes to be known as The Shadow. He threatens Jim’s family and manipulates Jim into helping him capture Titan.

Eric must learn his family’s secrets, discover what really happened to his sister, and confront The Shadow to save himself, his family, and his friends.

3. What makes your book different from other superhero novels?
- For my novel, I was interested in the journey--for both the protagonist and the antagonist. It’s always bothered me in comics or comic book films, if it’s an origin story, the protagonist’s transition into becoming the hero is covered in a quick two minute montage. The villain’s, too. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man is guilty of that. Peter Parker climbs a wall, jumps over some buildings, fights Bonesaw, then chases Uncle Ben’s killer. After Ben’s funeral, there is a very quick and abrupt montage showing us Spider-Man capturing bad guys and capably defying gravity. I understand the need to get to the action, but Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins was much more methodical in showing you the evolution of Bruce Wayne into Batman. A lot of that was drawn from Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One which wanted to tell the story of a “green” Batman. However, in the book and in Nolan’s film, Bruce Wayne is pretty much Batman by the end.

It don’t want Titan to get off so easy. I took a Breaking Bad approach to Titan. Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, decided to make a show about Joe Blow becoming Scarface. He didn’t want the guy to just *be* Scarface, he wanted to take us on that journey--how do we dispose of a body? How do we actually distribute the drugs we make?. How do we insulate and protect ourselves. Similarly, I didn’t want Titan to obtain his powers and be fighting supervillains in the next chapter. I tried to portray the point of view of someone who was a regular person, like we all are, and give him superpowers. What does that person think about? How does he come to terms with the fact that he’s climbing a building when only a month ago his biggest concern was math homework.

I don’t want people to think the book is all psychological. It’s not. I like writing action and set-pieces far more than introspective stuff, but it’s all necessary. It makes the action better. I wanted to earn Eric Steele’s transition into Titan. And even once he makes that transition, he is still an 18 year old wielding a tremendous power that he doesn’t understand. He’s not an expert yet. He’s going to make mistakes.

4. Who are your favorite superheroes and villains?
-Batman is my absolute favorite superhero because he doesn't have traditional powers. Batman's intellect IS super (and so is his wallet). He's always 3 steps ahead. He’s a big influence on "Titan;" not every superhero needs to be dark and brooding, but giving them flaws and problems makes them relatable. We root for them and want them to win in spite of those issues. Plus, Batman’s a badass, plain and simple.

Spider-Man is a close second. In stark contrast to Batman, Spider-Man is a jokester. He wisecracks and enjoys his powers even though he respects the responsibility he bears. But, like Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker is smart; he would have been somebody even without superpowers -- he developed a highly advanced adhesive for goodness sake.

In the villain department, the Joker is the king. Anyone who can rattle Batman and get under his skin is worth the honor. Plus, there's nothing terribly fake about him; he's an honest to goodness sociopath and psychotic. We see him as evil, but he thinks he's just having a good time.

I'm also drawn to Magneto (see what I did there?) as a villain. He clearly is one, but I don't see him as evil. He certainly doesn't think so. He can be ruthless and cruel, but he's not coming from a fundamentally bad place. I mean, he's a survivor of the Holocaust AND he's persecuted for being a mutant. You can understand his perspective, which makes for great storytelling when your heroes must oppose him.

5. Who are your favorite writers (both comics and novels):
- Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy, and Elmore Leonard are the greats as far as I'm concerned. King knows how to create a world (oftentimes a terrifying place) and center you inside of it completely. McCarthy bends the English language to his will. And no one does dialogue like Leonard.

J. Michael Straczynski, Peter David, Jeph Loeb, Brian Vaughn, and Frank Miller are some comic authors I like, though there are many others.

6. What are your thoughts about the rise of superhero prose fiction?
- I honestly didn't know there was a rise! I hope you’re right. When I was doing research on other books in my genre, I didn’t find many books quite like Titan. The ones I did find were satirical or comedies, so I think there’s definitely room to tell these kinds of stories seriously.

We’re in a great time for genre fiction. Superhero and fantasy tales are popular now and only becoming more broadly accepted. I think superheroes are like the modern day versions of the old Greek and Roman legends. I’m particularly drawn to them. I get a tingle when I watch the Chris Nolan “Batman” films or “The Avengers.” It’s exciting. It’s escapism. There’s also something about the battle between good and evil that resonates with me. Maybe it’s a Catholic upbringing, I don’t know.

7. How long did it take you to write your book?
- The answer to that question is more complicated than it would seem. I had the first nugget of the idea when I was a junior or senior in high school. Over two or three months in college, I wrote Titan as a screenplay. I liked it, but there was a deeper mythology I wanted to explore which I couldn’t do as well in that format. Most of the framework of the story was there... maybe I just didn’t know how to write a screenplay.

I wrote the first draft of Titan over about a year after college. I guess when I add up the time it’s been about 5 years. I revised and shared with friends for feedback and revised again. Really, I was dragging my feet.

8. What inspired you to write it?
- There were many inspirations behind Titan, but my sister, Sarah, was the biggest. In real life, she was severely handicapped. My mom and dad had to do everything for her. She defined our lives. She died when I was twelve. As I got older, it bothered me that, seemingly, she died for nothing. I mean, what was the purpose of her life? I got the idea to create a superhero whose older sister was supposed to be a superhero, but she died and he had to do it. That was really the heart of the idea. It gave me a way to lend meaning to my sister’s life because she was in the inspiration behind it. I had to name Eric Steele’s sister Sarah. It’s a beautiful, strong name.

On a philosophical level, I was inspired to create a mythology around the notion of God as a being who gave mankind free will and the consequences of that being the kickoff of THE battle between good and evil. God will not step in to save us, though, because free will is a precious thing and removing it is the only thing that would destroy Evil (capital “E”). We have to save ourselves. But Evil cheats; God gave us weapons and powers to make it even. In Titan’s universe, Evil isn’t just a force, it’s a being, equal to God, who wants to destroy Him and be the God.

I also find the ideas of free will and destiny interesting. Can both of those things exist in the same world? If Eric Steele has free will, but he is also Titan and Titan is here to do something important, does Eric Steele really have free will? It’s a question that’s worth exploring and one I don’t think has been addressed head on in too many other works.

Finally, I’m selfish. I love superhero stories and I wanted a superhero in Washington, DC. It’s the capital of the United States and it deserves a superhero. I grew up in the Washington, DC area--it lends itself to intrigue, excitement, and a variety of action. There are other cities besides New York in the US.

9. Who are your favorite characters in the book?
- I’m partial to Eric Steele’s friends Jim and Drew. I think Jim’s story arc in the book is really compelling and I think he’s a guy with demons, but who tried to do the right thing. The target just kept moving on him. Drew is just funny. While Eric and Jim are struggling with the more fantastical elements of their stories and going to some dark places, Drew is a character who gets to exist more or less in the “real world.” He thinks he’s the coolest guy around, but definitely isn’t.

Of course, our hero: Eric Steele/Titan, resonates with me as well. I definitely put a lot of myself into him, but what I like best about him is how he’s courageous. I’m not even talking about climbing buildings or fighting bad guys--he talks to girls with more confidence than I ever did in high school.

10. Anything else you want us to know?
- I feel compelled to address the fact that my name’s Eric and that’s my lead character’s name, too. I can’t claim ego isn’t involved. That’d be a lie. However, the specific reason is I felt like “Erics” in movies, TV, comics, etc. get a bad rap. The most prominent character “Eric” I can think of is “Eric Foreman” on That 70s Show. He was a funny character, sure, but he was kind of a coward and not really someone you looked up to or strived to be like. I think Donnie Walberg played a guy named Eric in the “Saw” movies... Do an imdb.com search for characters named Eric; there aren’t many. I think my point is made; I didn’t want another John or Jack hero. My superhero is Eric Steele; he’s Titan.

maandag 8 april 2013

GODLING # 11: A Woman Scorned

GODLING # 11:  A Woman Scorned
By Jochem Vandersteen

>I'm taking you down, professor. I know how you people are. Abusing your power since I've been a little girl. But I'm not a little girl anymore. I abuse you before you abuse me. <
Quentin Alexander was seated in the interrogation room of the New Troy
PD. In front of him was a female detective with a coffee colored skin
and a red blazer and skirt.
   "I honestly did not do the things the girl accuses me of, detective
King" he said.
   The detective sighed. "You know how many times I've listened to
guys saying that just before I put them in jail? Why would she lie
about it?"
   "I don't know. Maybe she was angry because I didn't respond to her
coming on to me?"
King sat on the edge of the table. She was an attractive woman, long
legs, high-heeled, strong, high cheekbones. Quentin wondered why they
put her in the Special Victims Unit. Or was it on purpose, a ruse to
get rapists to show their bad side, to goad them into the exact
behavior they were there for?
   "I understand, professor. I really do. I might be a woman but I can
imagine how it is for a man to be in a room all day with these
attractive young women. Especially the way they dress these days with
those hiphugger pants, belly-button exposing tops... And when all that
power you have, the way they look up to you gives you the opportunity
to do something about the urges you get..."
   "Stop it!" Quentin shouted and rose from his chair. "I would never
abuse my position like that!"
   King crossed her arms. "Too bad I have nothing that backs that up.
What I do have is an injured young woman who says otherwise."
   "Come on, there were never any complaints about me. Ask anyone. Ask
my colleague, Monica Sawyer. She'll vouch for me."
   "What a coincidence. I was just going to suggest the same," a voice
from the door said. It was Wade. "It's time you got the phone call
you're entitled to, Quentin."
   "He's my suspect, Wade. You're SWAT, not SVU. What are you doing
here getting involved with my case?" King's eyes seemed to be on fire.
   "I also outrank you, Detective. Quentin here is one of the good
guys. Wouldn't hurt a fly. He gets his phone call, then I bring him
back in here, okay?"
   Grudgingly King agreed.
   Wade put a hand on Quentin's shoulder and guided him out of the
room. "I've got a good lawyer for you. Cheap too. His name is Marcus
Walker. I got his number here for you."
   Wade handed Quentin a business card of one Marcus Walker, attorney
at law. "Thanks, Wade. You do know I'm innocent, right?"
   Wade laughed and gave the professor a light punch on the shoulder.
"Come on, Quentin. You're on of the straightest arrows I know. Of
course you are innocent. We'll get this sorted out for you. Officer
Janson here will take you to the phone. I've got to go."
Pretty, perky, small and stocky Officer Janson greeted Quentin. She
was one of the cops who arrested him.
   "For what it's worth... If Wade thinks you didn't do it, I believe
him. Please follow me."

Quentin used the payphone in the hallway to call Walker. Janson kept
an eye on him.

Walker was on the floor, dressed as Safari. Death Dog's shadow was
thrown over him. Walker was hurt bad. His potion had run out when
Death Dog had entered his place, now almost helpless against his
superhuman strength.
   "I never expected you to be that easily defeated," Death Dog said.
He sounded almost disappointed.
   Walker tried to crawl up again. Then the phone rang. He managed to
reach for it. He managed to groan "help me" in the phone before his
attacker snatched it from his hands and crushed it.
   "There's no one who can help you now, hero."

   Walker was in danger. And to Quentin's surprise he almost sounded
like Safari. The way the connection was broken made it clear there was
no time to waste. But how was he going to get there? He couldn't just
walk out of the police station could he?
   "What's up?" asked Janson. "You look worried."
   "I need to go to the bathroom. Don't feel so well in the stomach.
Nerves probably..." Quentin held his stomach.
   Janson had no reason to doubt his words. A college professor could
of course be pretty upset by events like these. In fact, she had
trouble believing this gentleman was guilty of the accusations. "I'll
take you there."
   She led Quentin to the bathrooms. He entered while she stood guard
   In the bathroom Godling executed his plan. Using the shape-changing
ability of Poseidon he changed into a cop and walked out the door. He
greeted Janson. She greeted him back. Walk in the park...
   When he was outside he changed into Godling and using the speed of
Hermes ran to the address that was on Walker's business card.
Detective King walked by the bathroom. "Where's professor Alexander?"
she asked Janson.
   "Inside... He isn't feeling that well."
   King said, "If he takes to long get inside there to check him out.
Then take him back to the interrogation room."
   Janson nodded. Of course, your majesty. Janson had always been a
little jealous of Darlene King. She became a detective in just a few
years, had an incredible supermodel body, was strong yet feminine.
Rumors were she was into women more then men but there was nothing to
confirm that. Janson herself might as well be a lesbian as well as far
as people knew. It had been years since she'd been involved in a
serious relationship. Oh, sure... Fellow cops came on to her in cop bars
when they'd had a few beers but she really wasn't into cops much. Too
macho, and hypocritical as it might sound not the kind of job she'd
want the father of her future children to have... Yes, children... Her
biological clock had started to tick as a timebomb.
    Now why was that Quentin guy taking so long?
Death Dog held Walker's throat near his teeth, ready to rip his throat
out. Then the wall went down.
   Godling plowed into Death Dog with so much speed he catapulted him
through the other wall. He went trough two more walls ending up on the
   Half conscious Walker looked Godling in the eye. "How'd you get
   "Faith, I guess," Godling answered. "Let's get you out of here."
   He took him in his arms and ran to the hospital, leaving him at the
Emergency Room.
   "Take good care of him," he told the stupefied doctors and nurses.
Then to Walker, "A man I know needs your help. Call the police station
and ask for Quentin Alexander. He needs a good lawyer."
   Walker nodded then went KO.
   Hoping he'd gotten the message Godling ran out of the hospital,
back to the police station.
Of course, he could've stayed away from the station but then Quentin
Alexander would be a man on the run and he didn't want to be that. So
what he did was, he changed back into a cop and walked into the
bathroom, past Darlene King and Janson. After changing back to Quentin
he left the bathroom again.
    "What took you so long?" Janson asked.
    "Sorry," Quentin said. "I got sick. This whole thing is too much
for my nerves."
    King sighed. "Maybe you are innocent. What a sissy."
   Janson took offense. "I'm not sure it takes a lot of guts to take
advantage of your position. Er... Not that I really think you're guilty,
   Quentin nodded. "I know what you mean. Thanks. It's just a big
   King smiled. "I've heard those words before."

>I remember it like it was last Tuesday. He was our Little League coach. A nice family man. Big, bald with a moustache. Respected by all. He was going to teach me how to improve my swing. When all other kids were gone he raped me in the locker room.
I didn't even fight him. I'm still not sure why not. Was it because he
was such a respected figure of power? Was it because I didn't stand a
fighting chance anyway? When I was at my lowest I even sometimes asked
myself if I didn't out of curiosity.<

"That's ridiculous!" Monica said to Hudson when he told her the news
about Quentin by phone. "Quentin would never do anything like that.
He's Mister Clean!"
 "That's what I said," Wade answered. He was in his car, on his way to
a bungalow they were going to search for drugs and firearms.
"Unfortunately we have a witness that states otherwise."
 "Then that witness is lying."
 "Probably, but why?" Wade parked his car. Other squad cars had
arrived already. "Sorry, have to go. I'll talk to you later."
 "All right, be careful."
 When the connection broke Monica felt the usual fear whenever she
knew Wade was off to play supercop again. As one of the best SWAT
officers in the NTPD he was asked to take on the most dangerous tasks.
She always had to live with the fear the phone call she had would be
the last. Sometimes it made her wonder if she wouldn't be better off
with more of a potential family man. Someone who wasn't putting his
life on the line on a daily basis. A man who would be home for diner,
to play with the kids. Wade was a handsome and sexy man. But was he a
good father and husband?
 Maybe she was too old to go for a guy like Wade. Oh, she loved him
with all her heart but sometimes she wondered about the future. It was
then that she sometimes wondered if she wasn't better off with a guy
like Quentin. Not that she was remotely in love with him, but she felt
a certain warmth towards him. He was always so nice to her, interested
in anything she had to say or was doing. He was well-mannered, with a
good sense of humor. He even had quite some sex-appeal, but in a
different way Wade had. His calm, his intelligence, the gray at his
temples... Still, she couldn't imagine him as anything else as a good
friend and she couldn't exactly say why.
 One thing was for sure, the accusations against him were nonsense.
They had to be. Quentin was one of the most female-friendly men she
knew. He'd never tried anything with her. In fact not with anyone she
knew. He could still be a virgin as far as she knew. Wasn't that a
little odd then maybe? Could it be that so much time without any woman
had made him so lusting for female flesh that he abused his power like
 No, she was thinking crazy thoughts. She sighed. If she wasn't
worrying herself sick about Wade she was making herself crazy with
other things. Maybe she needed a drink.

>Of course, nobody believed me then. After all, I was just a stupid young girl. He was a respected member of the community.
I learned five years later he was shot by his wife when she caught him
abusing his own children. That was when people started to believe me
and a life of therapy began. Therapy to stop me from my suicidal
tendencies, to stop me from cutting myself. My shrink was a respected
man in his field. A big, bearded man in a suit. Somewhat like
professor Alexander.
 The shrink started to abuse me. I wondered sometimes if I had any
part in it. If maybe I led him believe I wanted him to do the thing he
did to me. It seemed such a strange coincidence this would happen to
me again.
 The therapy did good things for me, but not in the usual way. When I
dragged the shrink to court I got the satisfaction I needed. They
believed me this time. They had to, I had a P.I. makes pictures. I'd
never felt better in my life. Now I was the person in charge. The
shrink's life was ruined. I moved from New York to New Troy but still
had the P.I. inform me about how miserable the shrink's life was now.
 I started to look for that wonderful feeling I felt when I got even
with my abuser from that point on. And professor Quentin Alexander
seemed just the right person to help me find that again.<

Death Dog got up. He shook himself like a wet puppy. He wasn't exactly
sure what hit him. It had felt like a freight train. He wasn't
prepared however to let Safari get away.
 He sniffed. He still had his scent. He could follow it to wherever he
was and then finish his work.
>The assistant district attorney was a blond woman with glasses. She seemed to be a combination of both the beauty and the nerd. I was quite happy it was a woman. She told me she would do everything in her power to make sure Quentin Alexander would get the punishment he was due. I smiled. I, Amanda Reese would get my revenge once again!<


GODLING # 10: Wild Times

GODLING # 10:  Wild Times
By Jochem Vandersteen

Godling stared into the black hole of the 9mm pistol raised at him.
Although with his powers he had no real reason to fear it, he did
respect it. He'd witnessed three thugs ready to set flame to one of
their enemies and had already taken out one of them. Time to face the
other ones. He readied himself to channel the invulnerability of
Achilles when there was a growl from above.
    A muscular black man landed next to him. The man was dressed in
what seemed to be a combination of leather and tiger-striped loincloth.
On his face he wore a mask that seemed to come right from some African
medicine man's collection. The man snatched the 9mm from the thug's
hand and hurled him against the alley wall. The remaining thug pulled a
knife on him, but the man dropkicked him to the ground. Then he turned
his attention to Godling.
   The man seemed to size the One Man Pantheon up for a minute, like he
wanted to make sure if he provided a threat to him. There was a
wildness in him, the fight or flight instinct clearly taking place
within him. Godling held up his hands, signaling that he offered no
threat. It made the black man's face ease. Where there was first a
feral display of teeth there was now an easy smile.
    "Godling I presume?" the man asked.
    Godling smiled back and nodded. "I am. I don't think we've
met before?"
    The man shook Godling's hand. "Safari. Seems like we share the
same purpose being here this evening."
    "If your presence here is about making this a safer neighborhood
then you're totally right."
    Safari nodded. "It is. Good to have you in my 'hood, hero.
There's a lot of work to be done before this is the safe place I'd
like it to be."
     "I haven't had the honor of meeting a fellow superpowered
champion before. Maybe we could sit down and talk for a minute?"
Godling asked.
     Safari laughed. "I don't think we'd be very welcome at a
Starbucks dressed like this."
     "Just give me a minute. How do you drink yours?" Godling
asked. Before Safari had finished the sentence 'black with sugar'
the One Man Pantheon was gone with the speed of Hermes.
      Safari scratched the back of his head. "Where did he go?"
      A second later Godling was back with two cups of steaming coffee.
He pointed up. "Let's take it to the roof."
Death Dog had his nose to the ground, sniffing out the scent of his
target, the masked crime fighter who'd dubbed himself Safari. What an
idiot that guy was. Dressing himself like some SM-version of Tarzan. He
could take an example from his own style. His expensive red leather
duster, his Oakley shades... That man was disgrace to the black race,
making them look like damned cannibals or something. He grinned at the
thought of cannibals. Actually he liked a casual bite of human flesh
every now and then himself.
    "You smell anything?" the thug with the shotgun behind him
asked. It was one of Abdar's stupid, cheap henchmen. They weren't
worth spit, but Abdar had insisted on them accompanying him. Death Dog
had agreed because he felt it might be good to have some witnesses to
how he would tear off Safari's arms and feed them to him. It would
serve nicely to increase his already formidable street rep. If he'd
built it enough Master Destiny would probably give him ownership of
Lower Troy.
    Quick as lightning he rose, his duster swirling behind him like a
cap. He grabbed the thug by the throat. "I smell your damn stinking
breath, piece of crap. Now stop breaking my concentration."
    In the corner of his eyes he noticed the other two thugs that
accompanied him raise their submachine guns at him. He smiled and
dropped the thug. "Don't kid yourselves. Even you fools aren't
stupid enough to take me on just because I'm picking on one of your
    He was right. The thugs lowered their guns.
    Death Dog raised his head. What was that smell? It was mixed with
coffee beans... But it also clearly was the scent that had been on the
clothes of the last guy that Safari had taken out. Oh yeah, he had his
scent right there. Death Dog was on the prowl!
"So, your turf is Lower Troy?" Godling asked, leaning against a
water tower, holding a cup of coffee.
Safari nodded. "Yeah. I figured that part of the city could use some
extra protection, you being busy protecting most of Upper Troy and
Central Troy against the super powered freaks. The people here needed
someone to protect them from the gangs, the dealers and the pimps."
    "So you found a niche." Immediately Godling regretted his bad
joke. In a way he felt he'd been letting down the people of Lower
    "Sort of I guess," Safari said. "Listen, if you don't mind
me asking... Are you really related to the Greek gods?"
    Godling sipped his coffee. "Not related directly, but the did
give me my superpowers. How did you end up with yours?"
   "A couple of years back I was a lawyer in Upper Troy, making money
like you wouldn't believe. I worked for the mob, for the stars and
millionaires. I partied a lot as well, slept around. It got harder and
harder to be there in court after a night of partying hard and too much
booze. That's when I started to use speed, just to try and keep up
with my lifestyle. I became more an more of a ruthless bastard, doing
anything to make a buck so I could pay for my expensive lifestyle. I
bribed witnesses, blackmailed clients... And then, one night I woke up
in a hospital... I'd had too much of the wrong drug and if the hooker
I was sharing the bed with hadn't recognized the symptoms fast enough
to get me to a hospital I would've died..."
    Safari gave Godling a curious look. "Why am I telling you all of
    Godling shrugged. "Maybe you trust me. Maybe it feels good to
unburden yourself."
    "Guess that's it. Anyway, after I was saved in the hospital I
had one of those moments you see in the movies. That life-changing one.
I decided that if I didn't clean up my act I'd die within a couple
of years and would probably go straight to hell. That's when I
decided to go back to my roots, to lead simpler life, far away from the
temptations of sex, drugs and booze. I went to Africa. There I was kind
of adopted by a tribe that helped me kick my habit. Their medicine man
took care of my withdrawal symptoms and concocted a special potion for
me made from plants, animal blood and other secret ingredients. This
potion not only fought the withdrawal symptoms but also granted me the
powers of the animal kingdom."
    "Wow, and I thought my origin was interesting," Godling mused.
    "Anyway, when after a while I was ready to return to the States I
was a new man. Not only had I learned how to hunt and survive in the
jungle, not only had I kicked my bad habits and possessed a mysterious
potion granting me superpowers but I also returned with a new sense of
honor and purpose. The tribe had taught me how important it is to look
out for your brothers and to be a righteous, honest man. I decided to
make up for my past life by finding a place to live in Lower Troy and
take cases for the poor and downtrodden."
    "Nice, very nice. But how did you end up wearing that costume
    "I saw your deeds in the papers and on TV and understood how much
more I could mean to my people when I would use my potion as a champion
for justice. Inspired by your costume, fast becoming a symbol for
justice, I donned one of my own and started to fight crime on the
    "Well, I could sure use the help."
    "Good to know you appreciate it. But you've made me kind of
curious... You told me your powers were granted to you by the Greek
gods... Could you tell me more about that?"
Death Dog watched the conversation between the two heroes from the
rooftop door. He thought about the situation. This was his chance to
take out two of Master Destiny's enemies in one strike. But he
hadn't prepared for that. And he knew about Godling's powers, which
seemed to be harder to beat than Safari's. And besides, his mission
was to kill Safari, not Godling. He had an idea.
    "Kill them," he simply ordered the henchmen that were with him.
    Without question, frightened by what he would do to them were they
to disobey his orders they attacked.
Just as Godling was ready to tell Safari more about his origin three
armed black men appeared, dressed like they were from a rap video. They
shouted they were going to kill them and fired their machineguns.
     "Watch out!" Safari yelled, his jungle-honed reflexes
immediately assessing the situation. He pushed Godling down so the
bullets went over their heads.
    Then it was Godling's turn to save his new friend. Using the
invulnerability of Achilles he got up, stood in front of Safari and
caught the bullets the thugs were firing at them. Meanwhile, Safari
took a swallow from his potion.
    "Why won't that #@% die?" a thug cursed frustrated.
    Safari jumped over Godling, his fingers forming tiger-like claws.
He landed on one of the henchmen. Two punches took him out before he
could get Safari in his sights.
Another thug aimed his gun at Safari. The hero produced a bolo from his
belt and threw it. The bolo's rope wrapped itself around the gunners
hands, making it impossible for him to get a good aim. Godling used the
martial powers of Ares then to take the guy out with a roundhouse kick.
That left only one thug to beat. Safari and Godling slowly walked to
him. The thug was carrying a Glock 9mm that he emptied into Godling's
now invulnerable body. There was a dry click as his Glock's chamber
was empty.
   Safari smiled. "That's it for you, brother." With one punch
the last thug went down.
   "We seem to work pretty good together," Godling noted with a
satisfied grin.
   "It seems we do," Safari said and gave Godling a high five.
"Maybe we should team up more often."
   "Maybe we should," Godling agreed. Then he remembered he had an
early class to teach next day so it might be a good idea to go to bed.
"I've got to go now, but maybe we'll see each other later,
    "You got it!" Safari said. "I'm out of here, got an early
court appointment tomorrow."
    Then they went their separate ways, Safari jumping from rooftop to
rooftop, Godling using the powers of flight of Perseus.
Death Dog spit on one of the unconscious thugs. Such weaklings. But he
had no second to loose in scolding at them. He had to follow Safari. So
he took a big leap to the nearest rooftop and made sure he stayed on
the scent of the Champion of Lower Troy.
Godling arrived in his apartment through the window, changing into
Quentin Alexander as soon as he was in. He was looking forward to a
good night's sleep before class tomorrow. Stripping off his clothes
he walked into his bedroom. What he found there shocked him more than
Cerebus, fanged flying villains or armed gangsters. She was in his bed,
naked and looking absolutely beautiful.
    "Hi professor," the female in his bed greeted him
    Startled, he took a step back. He recognized her then. The gorgeous
blonde was the student who'd tried to ask him out a day earlier.
"Amanda? What are you doing here?"
   "Isn't that obvious? I'm waiting for you," she said
   "How did you get in?"
   "The super offered to let me in. I told him I'm your sister."
She brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. "A little charm is all
it took."
   "Please, put some clothes on and leave," Quentin pleaded. As
good-looking as Amanda looked, the whole scene felt morally wrong to
him. And besides that, he would get in a lot of trouble were he to
sleep with her.
   "Don't you want to join me?" she asked, running her hands over
her body.
   "Again, please leave."
   "I can't believe you don't want me. I've seen you looking at
me during class, professor."
    Quentin was getting sick and tired of the whole affair. He walked
over to Amanda and grabbed her by the wrist. "Please get out of
   She struggled, but Quentin wrapped the sheets around her and got her
out of bed. He found her clothes on the floor and handed them to her.
"Put them on and get out of here before I call the police. You're
trespassing in my house."
    She glared at him. "Nobody has ever turned me down, professor.
You'll pay for that."
    "Invoice me," Quentin said.
    Angry she put her clothes on. She stormed out the door. Shouting
again at him, "You'll pay for that!"
When he heard the door shut he let himself fall onto the bed. It had
been a crazy night again. Time for some sleep.
Safari entered his apartment through the window. Hastily, he went for
his desk, getting some files he still had to read for court tomorrow.
Being a lawyer AND a superhero was quite a handful.
Reading the files he had quite some trouble concentrating. After all
he'd seen and done over the years he still was pretty impressed by
meeting Godling. Not only by the hero's powers but also by his sheer
presence, the sense of heroism and honor he seemed to exude.
Absolutely, Godling was a hero to look up to.
    The last remnant of his animal powers allowed him to sniff out a
scent that didn't quite belong in his apartment. Behind him!
    He turned around and faced a muscular black man with long Rasta
hair, a big red leather coat, expensive sunglasses and fangs for teeth.
Immediately, Safari was ready for combat again. The problem was however
that his potion had almost worn out its effects and there was no other
bottle within reach.
"Who are you?" he asked the intruder.
The intruder said, "I'm Death Dog. But for you, I'm only
Quentin awoke from some loud knocking at the door. Still a bit groggy
he got up and padded to the door. He opened it and was greeted by two
cops. He recognized the pretty Officer Janson.
"Hello?" he said, surprised. He wasn't used to encounters with
policemen in his civilian guise.
"Hello, professor. I'm sorry but you'll have to come with us,"
Janson said.
"Why? What happened? Has something happened to someone? Monica? My
"No sir," Janson said. "We're putting you under arrest for the
rape and assault of Amanda Reese."

A Woman Scorned

Review: Malevolence (Machinist #1) by Alexander Maisey

I've decided to feature reviews of superhero novels on this blog and am starting out with Malevolence, the first part of the The Machinist series by Alexander Maisey.
In this novella we follow a supervillain called The Machinist as he leaves jail on parole. Soon he is suspected to be behind the giant prison outbreak that has supervillains putting New York under siege. Trying to fight his way out of trouble he ends up helping the superheroes he hates.
What makes this one so great is that it doesn't try to be too smart or literary. Lots of superhero fiction tends to make fun of the genre or is afraid to don colorful costumes on their heroes. Not this one!
In a story that could have an comic book written by Warren Ellis we get cool new heroes and villains (loved Baron Brass) that owe a lot to the well-know characters of Marvel and DC but are not copies.
The action is fast and furious and the dialogue very readable. I was really transported into The Machinist's world.
If you loved Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible you will love this one. Looking forward to part 2!