A Joke is a Very Serious Thing

Question: What kind of sandwiches do crime fighters eat for dinner? Answer: A supper hero.

Puns (like this) pop up all over the place in Superhero’s Welcome, a novel about a group of jokey heroes who are methodically being assassinated one by one. The author is clearly having a jolly good time inventing all sorts of clever superhero verbiage. Try to imagine Stan’s Soapbox expanded to 60,000 words. The results might be similar.

Unfortunately, the parade of puns, jokes, and non-sequiturs is a poor substitute for narrative, pacing, and character development. The wordplay is terrific; the novel, quite frankly, is tiresome. Too much of a good thing is a venial sin. But the author’s penchant for punning should have been nipped in the bud by an editor (or a well-meaning family member).

And here’s the biggest joke of all. After chuckling throughout most of the book, readers will be shocked by the novel’s dour ending. As it turns out, this isn’t a superhero version of Mad Libs. The last two chapters turn everything upside down and inside out. Don’t expect an FOTFL punch line finale. You won’t get it here.

One last thing: There are a tremendous amount of typos in this book. For an author who obviously pays attention to language, this is highly disappointing. If Superhero’s Welcome goes into second printing, hiring a copyeditor would be a most welcome investment.

[Superhero’s Welcome / By Dan Schwartz / First Printing: April 2010 / ISBN: 9781452810249]

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