Chloe Cole is a failing webcomics artist, but in her crazy dreams she's a costumed superheroine who can fly and shoot power bolts out of her fingers—and battle a menacing supervillain. Other weird stuff is happening, too. Something is up. That's why she accepts a part on a really lame television superhero game show taping in New York City, so she can question people in the comic book business. They ought to know if supervillains are real or not, right? But what if they don't have the answers? Why is it Chloe's duty to become a temporary superheroine and save the world all on her own? Make that two worlds. It's complicated.
PG-rated nonstop comic book style adventure set in two universes, with plenty of super-powered battles and recognizable classic comic book scenarios—and some iffy romance thrown in.
This novel can be read as a stand-alone story. Further adventure in the Temporary Superheroine series are also stand-alone stories.
CHARACTERS IN THIS STORY
Chloe Cole: Reluctant female superhero, strong female protagonist, possessor of super powers, snarky twenty-five-year-old with parent and boyfriend issues
Roland Kirby: Eager comics fanboy, dependable partner in other world adventures, ex-boyfriend who won't go away, sweet geek who believes in comic book science
Eric Wood: Suspiciously charming comic book company CEO, possible secret supervillain, questionably honest potential lover and confidant
Jovial Jerry Fine: Beloved elderly icon of the comic book world, benign but skeptical participant in fast-paced adventures, knows more than he tells
Diabolical Dave McCay: Maverick comic book artist, man who wants the modern world to be what it was like in 1962, troublemaking genius
Bodacious Barb: Knows the secrets behind the comics, doesn't give a hoot
The Purple Menace: Supervillain, mad scientist, wants to take over the world—make that two worlds
The first novel from Vartanoff, a longtime comics creator, offers multiple inside references to engage the attention of comics fans, but there's little else of interest. Chicago indie webcomic creator Chloe Cole, the protagonist of her roman clef, has been dreaming for months of appearing in a starring role as a heroine battling a sinister villain. The mystifying dreams are being echoed by real-life disasters as well as by comics panels that appear on her computer, in an unrecognizable style not at all like hers. Chloe is prompted by Roland Kirby, her ex-boyfriend, to discover the artist and source of the drawings. She's also manipulated into appearing on a comics-centric reality television show that provides her with opportunities to quiz several prominent figures in the field and dig more into her own personal connections to classic comics creators. Chloe repeatedly voices her frustrations with the flawed logic of some comic book tropes and devices, but the work fails to deliver any new insights or ironic commentary and is further marred by a romantic angle that feels intrusive and forced. (BookLife)