“When I was 12 years old,” says Michael Marion Magdalene Morn-Edson, “my father strapped a bomb to my chest and drove me to the First National Bank and Trust so we could steal $27,500.” Apparently Michael’s father needed the extra cash to A) finish a diabolical gadget, and B) buy some groceries. “We were out of frozen waffles,” he admits.
Don’t be mistaken, however; Michael wasn’t exactly a bad guy. Genghis Khan was a bad guy. And so was Vlad the Impaler. Michael, on the other hand, was just a young kid trying to help out his dad. “I’m not a supervillain,” he says. “Not even close.”
Over the years, Michael had learned one valuable lesson from his father: It was important to believe in something—even if it was wrong. More than anything, he didn’t want to be a bystander—a guy who spent his whole life holding his breath, waiting for something remarkable to happen. As such, by the time he was a teenager, Michael already had a history that put him at the top of the FBI’s most wanted list.
Michael and his father’s lawless lifestyle is threatened one day when a mysterious superhero shows up in their hometown. New Liberty had been a super-less city for a long time. All the supervillains dried up during the Great Migration, and all the superheroes left for greater glory. The arrival of the Cobalt Comet (or whatever he called himself) took everyone by surprise, especially vandals, delinquents, and organized crime kingpins.
No doubt about it, having a superhero in town was a big deal. But for Michael, there was something far more upsetting going on in his life. He met a cute girl at the mall recently and she was driving him nuts. “I blame my father,” Michael says. “He taught me way too much about physics and 19th century literature and absolute jack about talking to girls.”
Michael and Viola eventually develop a sweet friendship that blooms into a tentative love affair (the novel’s final chapter, btw, is very sweet indeed). “Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil,” wrote Friedrich Nietzsche. And that’s the case here. Viola helps Michael come to terms with his true nature beyond villains and heroes. “I’m not evil,” says Michael on the very first page of this novel. “But sometimes it’s hard to know what’s right and what’s best and why there even has to be a difference.” He’s not alone. That’s something we all have to figure out eventually.
[Minion / By John David Anderson / First Printing: June 2014 / ISBN: 9780062133113]