We love everything about Halloween. And we mean everything. We love the history, the rituals, and all the imagery of the holiday. We love the naughty stuff, the nice stuff, the spiritual stuff, and the gay stuff. We love dressing up like a pirate, giving candy to kids, and shopping at Target for the latest kooky gewgaws.
And you know what else? We also love the Halloween Legion, a group of superheroes who patrol the world looking for “the wickedest, most terrible threats imaginable.” Their mission: to scare away the other scary things.
The leader of the goon squad is Miss Grimalkin (first name unpronounceable). She’s a craggy old witch who willfully traded her youth and beauty for the power of thaumaturgy. At her side, a requisite black cat and a moody seven-foot giant who wears a macabre skeleton costume. New recruits to the Legion include Molly, a hotsy-totsy fire elemental, and a friendly ghost named Freddy Fridley. Together they wield the power and imagination embodied by millions of children who dress up like witches, black cats, skeletons, devils, and ghosts on Halloween each year.
Strange things have been happening in Woodland recently. Gravestones have started whispering, well water has turned to blood, and a barn was seen crawling up a hill. Most disturbing of all was the appearance of the goat-boy. “Half-boy, half-goat, and wild as the devil.”
Before things get too crazy, however, the Halloween Legion arrives. Their plan is to lure everyone in town to the Creepy Crawley Carnival of Chaos and protect them from a woodsy sprite who may (or may not) be a herald of impending doom. Naturally, the spooky showdown takes place on Halloween night.
Admittedly, the novel is frustratingly skimpy and not very scary. And it veers too closely to children’s fiction for our tastes. But we don’t care. We love it anyway. How could we not? The author has taken the iconic creatures of Halloween and reshaped them into superheroes. He’s a clever writer who has a penchant for puns and a taste for wicked whimsy. We’re especially happy to report that the adventures of the frightful five will continue later this year. First up is a graphic novel called The Great Goblin Invasion. And later, as the harvest season draws to a close, we’ll get a second prose novel called The Night of the Living Fossil. Long live the Halloween Legion!
[The Halloween Legion / By Martin Powell / First Printing: October 2011 / ISBN: 9780983953203]