A party in a college flat in May 2001. A case of dodgy home-brewed beer. A violent storm. Next day: the mother of all hangovers. What would you do if you the morning after the night before brought a banging head, a raging thirst... Oh, and your very own superpower?
Meet the All-Stars: Harriet, Charlie, Caroline, Mary-Beth and Jack. Harriet can make herself invisible, Charlie can read your mind, Caroline can fly, and Jack, well, Jack can run faster than a speeding bullet.
Determined to become costumed crime-fighters, but baffled by the lack of super-villains to tackle, the quintet soon finds that the ramifications of their new powers are more complicated than they anticipated, and that humans (even themselves) are much more fragile than they'd realised.
Schwartz borrows heavily from classic comic books in this eager-to-please but unsatisfying debut. After five college friends wake up after a night of partying to discover they have superpowers, they band together as the All Stars, supernatural crime fighters straight out of Madison, Wis. From there, the plot packs few surprises: the team Charlie, Jack, Harriet, Mary Beth and Caroline embark on dozens of good Samaritan adventures. While it's entertaining enough (in a pulpy way) for a while, characters remain mostly static, and the narrative never attains any sort of urgency, so that by the time 9/11 comes into play and, regrettably, it does the text reads like an ill-considered parody.