We’ve seen the past and present of D-List supervillain Cal Stringel; now, it’s time to move into the future with a continuation of the plot… well, sort of. Let’s expose Secrets of a D-List Supervillain, by Jim Bernheimer.
Cal Stringel may be dead to the world at large, but a select few know that he’s still alive and in control of the most powerful suit of battle armor ever created. He’s part of a rogue super team taking the world by storm and changing the dynamic for both heroes and villains alike. With change comes resistance and those holding control and power are not ready to just hand it over without a fight.
For the former D-List Supervillain, it’s time to break out the spare synthmuscle, charge the massive railgun pistol, and bring the pain. With his new team, he thinks he can take on the world, but is Cal biting off more than he can chew? He must deal with sanctioned hero teams and power mad bureaucrats on one side and the major supervillains of his world on the other.
As Cal and his allies ready themselves to face friend and foe, he will also have to deal with his relationship with Stacy Mitchell, also known as the Olympian, Aphrodite. Separated for over a year, they’ve only just reunited and are faced with the prospect of being on opposite sides of the coming conflict. Can they find enough common ground between the secrets and half-truths to sustain their fledgling relationship, or are they doomed like the last time to crash and burn?
When I read Confessions of a D-List Supervilllain, I found it to be an unpolished but promising introduction to a new superhero universe. The follow-up, Origins of a D-List Supervillain, was an improvement in quality and style; my only problem with it (aside from the Dead Lesbian Penalty for offing Maxine) was that, as a prequel, there wasn’t any real suspense to it – I already knew how everything would turn out. Now, though, with the third installment of the series, we’ve got an actual proper sequel. I can’t wait to see what completely unpredictable adventures that I do not already know the inevitable conclusion to are lying in store for Cal. And the answer is…
…Flashbacks. Loads and loads of flashbacks. In fact, the majority of this book is not a sequel at all, but an “interquel” set during the latter part of Confessions of a D-List Supervillain. Sure, it’s nice to actually see some of the significant events that were glossed over, but… once again, I had that suspense-killing problem of already knowing ahead of time exactly how things were going to turn out.
Fortunately, as the book goes on, the present-day sections serving as bumpers between the flashbacks start getting larger and more relevant, eventually actually developing into a proper story that picks up where the first book left off. Furthermore, the writing quality is top-notch: fast-paced and funny. And the author tastefully refrains from killing any more lesbians. So, on the whole, I can give this book a stamp of approval.
Final Rating: 4/5