Thursday, September 24, 2009

_Rising Stars_ vol 3 by J. Michael Straczynski

This volume was good, but the joy was lessened by reading it out of order. I'd read vol 1 some time ago, I think, and I don't think I've ever seen vol 2. Lots of interesting concepts are thrown out.

I think this is one of those books one should definitely read. It takes place in its own universe and has a single set of superheroes who share an origin and are all connected rather Highlander-style -- if one dies, the others get more powerful. That's not nearly as cheesy in the book as it sounds.

The book heads for a somber place, but ends on a positive note without chickening out.


A superhero's run at the Oval Office is described, but an important plot point kind of falls by the wayside when the fellow goes to many pages of trouble to get help from someone who can talk to the dead, to help him win the election by knowing all the darkest secrets of Washington, then inexplicably fails to win, twice. He only uses his blackmail knowledge after he later gets elected, but there's no explanation for why he doesn't use it to get elected. Maybe it's more moral to blackmail elected politicians into cooperating with your policy agenda than to blackmail them into getting you elected?

The power-fantasy of an enlightened despot -- if only a hero took power, we'd be saved-- isn't allowed to go very far, though, before the military betrays the heroes and destroys them in a big apocolyptic finish to the book.

Wow, this is more negative than I intended. The last bit of the volume kind of soured me on the whole thing. The point of view changed completely and I didn't much like that. The whole series, in retrospect, was about the attrition of the group of superheroes, and that couldn't be other than sad, but it ended rather well.

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