Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher
Another one by Adam Christopher from a few years ago.
Seven Wonders (2012) is the pure white powder—a superhero comics without the pictures. We know that Hollywood can’t get enough comic book stories these days, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that screenwriter Christopher seems to like this style, and is pretty good at it.
Seven Wonders is pretty well written, an alternative world filled with wonder and superheroes—lot’s of them. There are hundreds of superheroes and a few super villains, with costumes and preposterous names. No two super beings have the same powers, so it is all quite exhausting to keep track of.
Unfortunately, these beings are comic book grade characters; shallow, stupid, and violent. Much of the dialog is idiotic. The alternative world is long on wonder and short on logic. Nothing makes sense, and the plot of the story is pretty pointless.
I read it right through. Did I like it? Not a lot.
The story itself is comic book level silly. Nothing of interest happens, though a lot of people get hurt and killed. Lot’s of flashy violence, not much meaningful talk or action.
The story itself is complicated and rather dark. Hewing to the comic genre, there are lots of fist fights, and not a lot of thinking-before-you-punch. There are only fragments of love stories, which last a few pages before someone kills someone, usually for almost no reason.
For that matter, there seems to be no normal life in this world. Families, friends, jobs—these are just the civilian background upon which the mighty superheroes play out their games. And there are a lot of civilian casualties.
The super beings appear to be scheming dunces. Every one of them is keeping secrets from their own allies, and they seem to lack any sort of understanding of people or strategy. Their vast technological and magical capabilities seem to give them little intelligence about the city, its people, or the various crimes and threats out there.
In short, these are highly unattractive and less than heroic heroes. Perhaps that’s the joke, but if so, it’s an awfully long and tedious joke.
Throw in the hazy line between good guys and bad guys, and their tendency to switch sides, and its no wonder that some of the civilians have a rather cynical attitude.
Enough already, Bob. This story obviously isn’t my cup of tea exactly.
But Christopher does exhibit a fine, if rather limited imagination. Given his other works, I have to assume that the limitations of this book were intentional, staying within the boundaries of comiciness. I’m not sure that a comic without pictures is an especially great format, at least not for me. If I’m doing to read 300 pages of prose, it might be nice to have a bit more substance.
I can’t resist a comparison to Valente’s Refrigerator Monologues, which plays with the same comic-iness, but has a lot more interesting characters and situations. A lot more.
This book is not terrible, but it’s not Christopher’s best work, as far as I’m concerned.
- Adam Christopher, Seven Wonders, Long Island City, Angry Robot, 2012.
Sunday Book Reviews