The Supervillain and Me

The Supervillain and Me was written in 2018 and is Danielle Banas’s debut novel. It is a science-fiction romance about a girl who slowly starts to fall for a notorious villain when she is asked to help prove his innocence. The novel forms the first part of the Morriston Superheroes series, though at the time of writing no future instalments have been announced.

Morriston City has never been safest of places. Despite the fact that it boasts two active Supers – Red Comet and Fish Boy – its crime rate is so bad that it’s unsafe for any ordinary person to walk the streets without carrying a taser. As the daughter of the mayor and sister of Red Comet, Abby knows this only too well. Her family are so busy trying to make the city a safer place that they don’t seem to spend much time together anymore.

Things get worse still when a new Super appears and burns down the mayor’s office. Dubbed the Iron Phantom by the press, he proves keen to use his powers to cause as much damage as possible. However, Abby isn’t sure quite what to make of this. Before he was revealed to be a villain, the Iron Phantom saved her life and he certainly didn’t strike her as a bad person.

It’s not long before the Iron Phantom shows up in her bedroom and begs her for help. He has reason to believe that the mayor’s office is planning to implant microchips in the general public and he needs to find out why. He also swears to Abby that he is innocent of his crimes and that someone is trying to frame him. Slowly, Abby is drawn into the conspiracy but she can’t help but worry if she is doing the right thing. How can she trust someone if she does not even know who they are, and what would her brother do if he learned that she was helping his arch nemesis?

The Supervillain and Me is a really fun read, but it might not be quite what you’d think. Based on its title alone, I must admit that I was expecting something along the lines of Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog or Megamind. You know, the kind of story that kind of makes you root for the villain, as the protagonists leave a lot to be desired. Instead, this is far more of a straight romance story with vaguely science-fiction overtones.

The plot focuses on a completely normal teenage girl who just happens to be associated with her hometown’s three Supers. However, beyond this, there isn’t an awful lot of world-building. We don’t even learn why some people develop superpowers in this world. Although a couple of theories are bounced around, there seems to be little in common between the origin stories of Red Comet and the Iron Phantom. If you’re a fan of comic books like I am, this setting may disappoint as it does feel a bit generic.

More than anything, the book really felt like a high school romance. To be perfectly fair, this is something that it does very well. The plot doesn’t really fall foul of typical school cliches and spends equal time fleshing out both sides of Abby’s life. By night she is secretly helping the Iron Phantom to uncover a sinister plot. However, by day her biggest concern is doing well in the school play. Well, that and trying to uncover the Iron Phantom’s true identity, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

The tone of the novel is very light and the plot certainly kept my interest throughout. While it may not have been quite what I was expecting, it did at least make for a fluffy feel-good story. The mystery concerning the microchips really drew me in and I was curious to see how everything would pan out. However, while intriguing, the plot never became too heavy. This is mostly down to Abby’s wonderful first-person narrative. Her conversational tone was engaging and really kept the story flowing, managing to balance the heartfelt and comedic scenes.

My only real disappointment was the climax. This is a purely personal thing and I won’t go into it too deeply as I don’t want to spoil the story for you. My issue was that I did not find the conclusion of the microchip plot to be satisfying. While the chips are rather sinister, the villain’s motivation didn’t feel especially strong and his plan was full of holes. However, I was pleased that the novel ended well. It nicely wrapped up this chapter of the story but still left enough loose threads to be picked up by future instalments.

Yet the best thing about The Supervillain and Me was its characters. The protagonists of this novel were fantastically well rounded and completely sympathetic. There was a lot of complexity to be found in Abby’s relationships with her family. The novel did a great way of showing how she could both love and resent them at the same time. This showed itself most effectively in her interactions with her brother, Connor. Abby loves him as he is her brother (even though he gets on her nerves). She worries about him getting hurt while he is saving the day as Red Comet. However, she still bears some resentment due to his inability to protect someone she cared about. The mixture of emotions that she feels felt very realistic and did a lot to make me warm to the character.

However, this is not Abby’s only strength. While early chapters made me worry that she was going to be a damsel in distress, I was pleased to find that this judgement was unfounded. Despite having no powers, Abby quickly proves to be more than able to hold her own. She’s witty, resourceful and intelligent and ultimately contributes as much to the climax of the novel as her superpowered friends.

Abby’s relationship with the Iron Phantom also felt incredibly natural. While it is blatantly obvious to any reader with eyes who the Iron Phantom’s true identity is, I can appreciate why it took Abby 75% of the novel to come to this conclusion. Their romance is slow burning but the chemistry that they shared was fantastic. Even though I had sussed out the Iron Phantom’s identity, I was still eager to find out how Abby would discover who was under the mask. The two of them worked really well as a couple and every scene that they shared was a joy to read.

Anyhow, I think that’s about all that I have to say. I really enjoyed reading The Supervillain and Me and would certainly recommend it to fans of romantic fiction. While it lacks a bit of originality and may be a little too light to appease comic book fans, it is a very sweet story with some fantastically complex characters. I really looking forward to reading more of Banas’s work and hope to see a lot more of Abby and the Iron Phantom in the future.

The Supervillain and Me can be purchased as a Hardback and eBook on Amazon.co.uk

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kerri
    Jul 30, 2018 @ 01:59:57

    I recently saw this on goodreads and added it to my TBR, i’m so glad to hear it was enjoyable! I may bump it higher now! Great review!

    Reply

  2. Allie Sumner
    Jul 31, 2018 @ 07:29:40

    Great Review!

    Reply

  3. Trackback: The Sobeks 2018 – Part 3 | Arkham Reviews

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