Library Wars

Disreputable PersonsMaxwell, Daniel, Kyel, Ramsay, and Grace weren’t exactly the Suicide Squad. Nor were they the Dirty Dozen, the Expendables, or the A-Team. But they were a little bit disreputable. Ramsay, for one, was a scofflaw who willfully ignored his growing pile of unpaid parking tickets.

Mostly, they were just a gang of unlucky ex-cons who couldn’t control their wiggy superpowers. Of the bunch, Grace had a slightly different backstory. She was a former low-level crimefighter named Sky Skater. But her rep was tarnished forever when she willfully tangled with the Quantum Man, the big daddy of all Signal City superheroes.

With nothing better to do, the fractured five hung out at Ramsay’s fix-it shop every day to watch TV, play video games, and feel sorry for themselves. They could turn invisible, knock down skyscrapers, hack alien technology, and skate across the sky on a hover board, but they were pariahs and rejects in a world filled with superheroes and supervillains.

Out of the blue, Maxwell (known as the Restless Spirit in his bad boy days) was approached by a mysterious organization called the Library. They were a small, private group interested in gathering secret information. To them, Maxwell’s ability to turn invisible was a valuable asset for undercover surveillance work.

Unfortunately, Maxwell’s involvement with the Library soon caused all sorts of problems. Almost immediately he stumbled upon an illegal arms deal involving the Supreme Saboteur, an elusive terrorist with a yen for blowing up bridges.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. He and his friends soon became inextricably involved in a crazy plot to turn Signal City completely upside down. Everybody, it seemed, wanted a piece of Maxwell. Even the city’s vaunted superhero team was on his tail. “The Library’s after me. The police are after me. And now the whole goddamn Signal Corps is after me,” he cried.

It was time for the Disreputable Persons to suit up. The Restless Spirit (Maxwell), Wiseguy (Daniel), Tantrum (Kyel), Sky Skater (Grace), and the Love Machine (Ramsay) had to figure out a way to stop the escalating madness. They were on a mission to save their city and rehabilitate their reputations too.

Author Blake Michael Nelson has given us a bunch of likeable goofballs. Grace, in particular, scores high in super goofball spunk. They started as “disreputable” and finished as “anti-disreputable” (if that makes any sense). We think there’s potential for numerous sequels with this group. And hopefully a follow-up adventure is right around the corner.

Overall, we have only one small complaint. Eschewing the cyclical nature of the hero’s journey, the author resolves Maxwell’s conflict with the Library before the explosive endgame. Readers may appreciate the MCU-like pyrotechnics, but for us the ending is just a hollow superhero blowout.

[Disreputable Persons / By Blake Michael Nelson / First Printing: February 2017 / ISBN: 9781543086263]

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