The kids who attend the Higher Institute of Villainous Education (H.I.V.E.) are being groomed to become the evil supervillains of tomorrow. But some of them keep breaking the rules. Otto Malpence, for example, is the worst offender of the bunch. In this particular adventure he rescues the President of the United States. That’s strictly against school policy. He’ll never become a member of the Sinister Six with that kind of behavior.
To make matters worse, the senior members of the Global League of Villainous Enterprises are feuding amongst themselves. And it’s up to Otto to squash the dissenting agitators. Talk about playing both sides of the fence. This kid just can’t win.
But win he must. Not only must he bring harmony to G.L.O.V.E. and save the U.S. President, but he must also stop a new terrorist group from deploying a missile from outer space that will destroy a big chunk of the planet’s population. No pressure, right? Just a normal day for your friendly neighborhood 13-year-old superhero/supervillain.
This is the fourth episode of Mark Walden’s H.I.V.E. series and it borrows freely (shamelessly?) from the merry Marvel universe. The villain of the story is Jason Drake, a billionaire industrialist who is cut from the same cloth as Tony Stark. The titular dreadnought is simply the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier with a new coat of paint. And the world-ending weapon casting a shadow over the earth is called Thor’s Hammer. And believe us, the analogies don’t end there. There are a half-dozen other things we could mention too. Depending on your point of view, this novel is either an affectionate homage to silver age Marvel comics, or an unimaginative S.H.I.E.L.D./Hydra/A.I.M. rip-off. Take your pick.
[H.I.V.E.: Dreadnought / By Mark Walden / First Printing: May 2011 / ISBN: 9781442421868]