The book opens from the perspective of Doctor Impossible. He's the smartest man in the world, according to . . . himself. And thanks to a lab accident, he also happens to be stronger than the average man and have bullet-proof skin. Oh and he’s in prison for the 12th time.
“I’m not a criminal. I didn’t steal a car. I didn’t sell heroin, or steal an old lady’s purse. I built a quantum fusion reactor in 1978, and an orbital plasma gun in 1979, and a giant laser-eyed robot in 1984. I tried to conquer the world and almost succeeded, twelve times and counting.” (pp. 4–5)
And here to provide the hero perspective is a cyborg named Fatale. She used to be a woman of average appearance vacationing in Brazil, until she was hit by a dump truck and scraped 40 feet against the side of a building. When she woke up 4 months later, she didn’t remember why she was in Brazil or who she had been there with, and she had no hope of leaving her hospital bed unless she took the deal being offered to her by a mysterious corporation. So she signed the contracts, and they made her into the next generation of warfare, replacing 43% of her original body weight with metal and plastic.
But after running only one high-profile mission, the super soldier program shut down and disappeared without a trace, leaving Fatale a lonely cyborg without a past or a purpose.
|Sincerely, The Military.|
UNTIL she received an invitation from the Champions, a disbanded group of heroes reuniting and recruiting a couple of new members to search for their missing once-leader, CoreFire—Doctor Impossible’s nemesis and one of the few truly invincible superheroes.
The overarching theme is a question Doctor Impossible poses in varying ways throughout the book:
“But why do we rob banks rather than guarding them? Why did I freeze the Supreme Court, impersonate the Pope, hold the Moon hostage?” (p. 7)
Why try again and again to take over the world when you know you must lose?
There’s a lot to keep you entertained. The cast of heroes and villains alone is endlessly fascinating, some clear parodies of familiar comic book characters (e.g., Blackwolf: former Olympic gymnast, millionaire, user of bare knuckles and gadgets, haver of zero superpowers) and others . . . something else altogether (e.g., Mister Mystic: Two-bit magician and con artist who apparently discovered real magic at some point, although no one is exactly sure what his powers are).
|Let's not get carried away.|
The tone is equal parts earnest and slapstick, with a dash of satire thrown in for good measure. And while the plot isn’t much more than you would find in the latest Pixar animated feature, that just means it doesn't get in the way of action like this:
"We faced off a moment in silence, and then he reached for me. He put his hands on me, a scientist! I recall there was a brief pursuit around the command console. I may have flailed at him once or twice. I managed to inform him, before passing out entirely, that he hadn't heard the last of Doctor Impossible." (p. 206)