People become superheroes for all sorts of reasons. Often they are motivated by an overwhelming sense of civic duty or they are possessed by superior moral standards. Some are inspired entirely by revenge.
For Dinah Geof-Craigs, however, she just wanted to be famous. Metahumans were more popular than movie stars and musicians and she dreamed of one day being on the cover of celebrity magazines like Teen Hero and SuperPeople.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t born with any kind of X-traordinary super power. It was her brother, and not her, who had struck the mutant gene jackpot. He possessed both telekinesis and telepathy abilities. Dinah was just a superhero wannabe and a jealous little sister.
But jealousy can sometimes be a great motivator. It inspired Dinah to bend fate in her direction. “My goal in life was to become a brilliant geneticist,” she said, “to study human-to-metahuman evolution, and to find a way to induce meta-mutation in myself.”
Dinah does, in fact, turn herself into a superhero. And this book is her autobiography (co-written by Vincent M. Wales). It is a personal memoir that chronicles her rollercoaster-like ride from grumpy teenager to selfless superhero. Interestingly, it is the first of three volumes.
At the start, Dinah comes off like a self-centered brat. “I wield sarcasm like a bludgeon instead of a rapier,” she admitted. “I considered the eye roll sublimely eloquent.” She was a moody cuss who harbored an unreasonable jealousy of her doting older brother. And like all teenagers, she had an ongoing combative relationship with her parents.
Eventually Dinah moves to San Francisco to make her superhero debut. Calling herself Dynamistress (Ooh! Steamy!), she eventually enlists in the Bay Scouts, a superhero team affiliated with the U.S. Coast Guard. One thing leads to another and she quickly gets entangled in a Fringe-like parallel universe caper.
As a memoir, Reckoning has an overriding reflective and pensive nature. We were happy to see that this navel gazing ultimately culminates in a nice little denouement by the last chapter.
Early in the book, Dinah reflects upon a happy moment from elementary school. In a second grade talent show she stepped on stage to sing the song “Car Wash” by Rose Royce. By all accounts she killed it. “There was no denying my enthusiasm,” she said. “The audience was enjoying my performance. They could see that I was talented and pretty.”
Upon further reflection, Dinah finally acknowledges that six of her classmates were on stage too. The audience wasn’t just responding to her singing alone. They were actually enjoying the entire ensemble. It is this memory that helps Dinah morph into a fully mature, magnanimous adult. No matter who we are (daughter, sister, friend, lover, superhero), we are always a better person with the love and encouragement of other people.
[Reckoning / By Dinah Geof-Craigs and Vincent M. Wales / First Printing: October 2013 / ISBN: 9780974133751]