Young Man Blues

SuperteamLike Dick Grayson, Vincent Sawyer grew up as a superhero’s sidekick. But at 16 he wanted to say goodbye to his Batman-like mentor Black Harrier and fight crime solo. It was time for him to establish his own identity. He figured, if Nightwing could do it, so could Red Raptor. For further details, see our review of Sidekick, the first book in the series (here).

Now at 17, Sawyer was looking to form a New Teen Titans-like group. Inexplicably he wanted to trade one interdependent relationship for another. If he wanted to be the star of his own comic book series, he wasn’t doing a very good job of it. Branding experts agree: stay on point.

But there was one significant difference. With the Resistors (cq) he would be the leader. No more Batman and Robin stuff. Sawyer would interview and audition candidates for his new superteam. He would supply the secret lair and the tech – and he would set the agenda too. That was his hope, anyway.

Naturally there were problems along the way. By using social media (always a bad idea), Sawyer attracted an odd bunch of applicants with questionable talents (like a not-quite master of kung fu). Later, when the charter members were finally chosen, discipline and training became a pressing issue. And during its first official mission, the Resistors (including Sawyer along with Osprey, Bash, Neith, and Pace) were busted for not having superhero permits. The Resistors Initiative was definitely a work in progress.

All things considered, we were a tad disappointed with Superteam – especially because Christopher Valin’s first novel was so dang good. Conflicts resolved themselves in an unfettered manner, and big revelations didn’t provide a big bang. For some odd reason, drama and narrative tension were askew throughout the entire book.

But there were many things we liked about this second Red Raptor outing. Mostly we were happy that Sawyer’s spunky attitude hadn’t softened over the past year. He wasn’t a bad guy by any means. He was just suffering from a Mose Allison ailment called “Young Man Blues.” As a kid trying to make his way in life, Sawyer was a lot like Peter Parker the Boy Wonder. But he was also like the loud and somewhat annoying Boy Wonder from the Teen Titans Go! television show. Like this sequel, Vincent Sawyer was simply experiencing a little thing called growing pains.

[Superteam: The Red Raptor Files – Part 2 / By Christopher J. Valin / First Printing: September 2017 / ISBN: 9781976332357]

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