three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
30-Sept-Oct-2007
user_rating: 
0

A-Soon I Will Be InvincibleFrom the get-go, it’s not hard to figure out that Soon I Will Be Invincible, Austin Grossman’s first book, is as much about having fun as saving the world. This update of the superhero mythos, narrated by both the criminal genius Dr. Impossible and Fatale, an unwitting cyborg just beginning her superhero career, centers on an attempt (the 13th, in fact) by Impossible to assert his villainous will on an unsuspecting planet and conquer the world. Only the New Champions stand in his way. When CoreFire, one of the good guys, disappears, and Impossible escapes from prison, Fatale and friends face a showdown with the evil doctor.
Pantheon. 288 pages. $22.95. ISBN: 0375424865

Chicago Sun-Times 4 of 5 Stars
"Grossman’s book is frothy fun with an undercurrent of sadness and a surprisingly human universality. … We each have our own hopes, our own grand schemes, and when they come to naught, it hurts." Neil Steinberg

Cleveland Plain Dealer 4 of 5 Stars
"Soon I Will Be Invincible succeeds for the same reason NBC has racked up ratings for Heroes and comic books have such devoted followings. The characters may be superheroes, but the stories showcase their humanity." Vikas Turakhia

Los Angeles Times 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Unlike literary creations featuring comics history or essays flavored with mentions of familiar childhood favorites, [Grossman’s] first novel, Soon I Will Be Invincible, is a full-on spoof that conjures a pantheon of cyborgs, aliens, fairies, magicians and zeta-beam-obsessed scientists." Christine Smallwood

St. Petersburg Times 2.5 of 5 Stars
"Invincible is a fresh, warm take on comic books, science fiction and pop culture. … Like Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude, another (and far more deeply flawed) attempt to bring gravitas to pop culture, Soon I Will Be Invincible struggles to resonate emotionally." Carlo Wolff

San Francisco Chronicle 2.5 of 5 Stars
"The book is not so funny as to get by on laughs alone, nor is the plot engrossing in the manner of a potboiler. It’s a slender book, and an amusing one, but we expect more from our superheroes—and that only seems fair." David Haglund

Critical Summary

Austin Grossman, Berkeley grad student, game designer, and comic-book connoisseur, offers a fresh take on the hidden realm of contemporary superheroes. Critics compare the novel favorably to Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude, the prime-time, sci-fi soap opera Heroes, and the animated big-screen hit The Incredibles. Although the plot and Grossman’s sense of humor wear thin for some critics, Soon I Will Be Invincible is certainly a worthwhile diversion, a flight of fancy with heart, and the perfect vehicle for a sequel. Even Impossible’s voice has the ring of truth—in a world-weary, villainous sort of way, of course: "Once you get past a certain threshold, everyone’s problems are the same: fortifying your island and hiding the heat signature from your fusion reactor." Impossible’s aphorism contains as relevant a metaphor for life as a reader is likely to find anywhere these days.