First things first—can we talk about the cover of this book? There’s something very, very wrong with it. We’ve got no problem with the artist’s technical ability. It’s actually a very nice drawing by Jay Piscopo. But c’mon! It’s a static image of a superhero reading a book.

The significance of the illustration is clear. The novel’s story revolves around a lost journal titled YesterYear. And depending on whom you’re talking to, it is either the Holy Grail of all superheroes, or “a modern day version of a doomsday book.” No one has seen it since it disappeared in 1955, and when the unpublished manuscript finally pops up, everyone is eager to get their hands on it.

Okay, so we get it. The book is a central element to the story. It’s important. But superheroes are an active bunch. They’re constantly jumping and punching and bursting into flames. They are a joyful expression of dynamic physical motion. We have no doubt Hal Jordan studies the Green Lantern Corps Handbook when he’s not saving the galaxy. But do we need to see him do it? We’re just saying this: there’s enough slam-bang action in Yesteryear to inspire a compelling cover image. A superhero reading a book is just a wasted visual opportunity.

We might have a problem with the cover, but we have no problems whatsoever with the book itself. Everybody knows that pulp heroes (like The Shadow and The Black Bat) helped inspire the creation of superheroes. But there’s always been a slight disconnect between the two. Author Tommy Hancock does an excellent job connecting the dots between our modern world and that fateful day back in 1929 when the first superhuman took to the sky. His use of interstitial text (much like Alan Moore did with Watchmen) helps the reader see a thread that unites the Heroes & Villains Movement timeline.

YesterYear was written by a reporter named Ramsey Long who had behind-the-scenes access to the world of superheroes. It was a book filled with awe-inspiring revelations and damning accusations. Once published, would it usher in a brave new world? Or would it unravel a world that should have died a long time ago? That’s what everybody wants to know, including us.

[Yesteryear / By Tommy Hancock / First Printing:  April 2011 / ISBN: 9781461061595]

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