Superheroes like Ms. Marvel and Static are famous. But unlike musicians, actors, and athletes, they generally followed a strict code of conduct that prevented them from exploiting their notoriety. “Where’s the fun in that?” asks Miles Taylor.
Miles was a 12-year-old kid with newly acquired superpowers. By wearing a golden cape blessed with alien technology, he could fly and do all the things comic book heroes could do.
The cloak transformed him into Gilded – colloquially known as the Halcyon Hero, the Golden Great, and/or the 24-Karat Champion. But to his dismay he couldn’t use his abilities for any sort of personal gain. He couldn’t fly to New York City on a whim and buy a yummy slice of pizza. Instead he was stuck in his school’s cafeteria eating a stale cheesy breadstick. “Revenge, greed, and putting yourself above others wasn’t the right thing to do,” he eventually learns.
He wasn’t the smartest kid in the world, but Miles was smart enough to know what he didn’t know. And he definitely didn’t know how to be a superhero. Even with the help of the golden cape, he wasn’t sure he was the right guy for the job. He was just a scrawny kid in middle school. What did he know about being a hero? Heck, he hadn’t even made it through the first year of Cub Scouts.
“You need to study more,” says his best friend, Henry. “I’ll give you more comics to read.” And sure enough, with the help of his friend’s comic book collection, Miles slowly learns about the superhero code of honor. More than anything, Gilded was an ideal — an umbrella in a rainstorm, a blanket on a winter night, and a Neapolitan ice cream sandwich during the summer. He made people feel safe and secure.
Unbeknownst to Miles and his best friend, the world was about to be blitzed by an army of lizard-like space aliens. And this, thank goodness, is where the novel takes a welcome turn from overly earnest to wildly amusing. The Unnd (led by their riotously funny commander, Oogalus Berbert Calamity) come to Earth with one mission: to kill everything! “I want Earth blown to pieces,” says Commander Calamity. “I will not allow its beauty to taint the universe!”
Naturally, Miles and his golden cape play an important part in thwarting the alien invasion (reading all those comic books really came in handy, apparently). It’s funny, however. It was Miles who saved the world, but in a final ironic twist, it was the evil Unnd horde that saved this novel.
[Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape: Attack of the Alien Horde / By Robert Venditti and Dusty Higgins / First Printing: June 2015 / ISBN: 9781481405423]