At school, Miles Taylor was the boy whom everyone would vote most likely not to be voted for anything. But last year during seventh grade he won the equivalent of the galactic lottery. That’s when he became a superhero.
Not a dress-up-for-Halloween and pretend superhero, but an honest-to-goodness living, breathing, pound-bad-guys-into-the-dirt superhero. With the help of a golden cape engineered with alien technology, he was the Golden Great, the Halcyon Hero, and Atlanta’s 24-Karat Champion.
Officially he was known as Gilded, the barrel-chested six-foot-plus exemplar of good. The cape transformed Miles from a nobody into the ultimate somebody. All things considered, he was “in-freaking-vincible.”
One year ago, Miles saved the world from an invading horde of lizard-monster warriors from outer space (see our review of the first novel here). But now as an eighth-grader he faced a more insidious threat: the U.S. Army.
Gen. Mortimer George Breckenridge was in Atlanta during the alien invasion. But it wasn’t the monsters from space that worried him so much. It was Gilded. He considered the superhero nothing less than the greatest threat the United States of America – and the world – had ever known. As such, he vowed to destroy him.
Breckenridge was a high-ranking and trusted figure in the Army, but he had ulterior motives. He was desperate to establish himself as one of the greatest military men of all time. If he could tame Gilded and preserve U.S. security, he was positive that his name would be listed in history books alongside George Washington, Stonewall Jackson, Douglas MacArthur, and Thunderbolt Ross.
To be fair, Breckenridge wasn’t the only one with a swelled head. Miles was suffering from an inflated ego too. You don’t douse forest fires, dissipate tornadoes, and foil alien insurgents without getting a little cocky. And one thing’s for sure: there’s nothing worse than a snooty superhero.
In line with the novel’s title, Miles has to defeat the U.S. Army and its secret army of robots. But more than anything, he needs to adjust his crabby attitude. You can’t sass your father, your best friend, and your girlfriend and still call yourself a superhero. Was Clark Kent an impudent lad? Did Peter Parker disrespect Aunt May? Of course not. Teenage superheroes need to follow the rules.
In the end, Miles smashes Gen. Breckenridge’s dreams of military immortality. And he also gets back on track (“I got too big for my cape,” he says). Yes, he was a superhero, but he was also a 13-year-old kid with a great father, a steadfast best friend, and an awesome girlfriend. In other words, he was the luckiest guy in the world.
[Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape: Rise of the Robot Army / By Robert Venditti and Dusty Higgins / First Printing: June 2016 / ISBN: 9781481405577]