RISE OF A D-LIST SUPERVILLAIN is the fourth novel of the popular D-List Supervillain series by Jim Bernheimer. I should state before I begin this review you should probably ignore it if you are afraid of any kind of bias since not only is Amber Cove (Jim's label) my publisher but we're good friends. Hell, I'm even mentioned in the book itself as he named Paper Tiger (a D-List Superhero) after me. This is probably in repayment for the fact I mentioned Mechani-Cal (called Mechani-Carl) in SECRETS OF SUPERVILLAINY.
If you're still interested in hearing my opinion of the book then I'll happily share my opinion of the work. Believe me, I'm going to be honest. If I hated the book, I'd just not do a review and I'm not going to sully Jim or my reputations by saying false things. However, I love the series and have always loved the series. I actually read it when Jim was first creating it in the old Permuted Press Writers' Forum and have followed it until now. So, again, you should know I am going to be remarkably biased despite said honesty.
When last we left Cal Stringel a.k.a Megasuit a.k.a Mechani-Cal a.k.a ManiCals, he'd successfully faked his death after killing archenemy Lazarus Patterson. It was his goal to retire from superheroics and raise his daughter with the World's Most Beautiful WomanTM Aphrodite (a.k.a Stacy). If you haven't read HORROR, HUMOR, AND HEROES Vol. 4# then you probably missed some developments with Cal in the Hillbilly Bobby novella THUGS, LIES, AND SPIES. I really wish Jim would release that separately as a $1.99 ebook, personally.
Thankfully, you don't need THUGS, LIES, AND SPIES to understand Cal has returned to semi-active (anti)superheroism with his "New Renegades" team. Unfortunately, he's doing so under an assumed name so he can't do anything about a doppelgnager who pops up claiming to the "real" Cal Stringel after he successfully time-traveled two years from his "death." Worse, Cal and Bobby are on the trail of a really big "fish" in a gathering of supervillains under the world's second most dangerous supervillainTM General Devious.
One of my complaints about SECRETS OF A D-LIST SUPERVILLAIN was the anachronistic order which the book was framed that made too many uses of flashbacks and references. By contrast, Rise of a D-List Supervillain is much-much easier to understand. It's a series of gonzo adventures with Cal, Hillbilly Bobby, Imaginary Larry, Whirl Wendy, Andy-Droid, and Aphrodite. Also, newcomer Paper Tiger. They're a lovable collection of oddballs who are as much a danger to themselves as they are to the villains.
If you've read the previous books then you have a pretty good idea what the novel is going to be about. Cal will be sarcastic and demeaning to everyone around him but Aphrodite, Bobby will show everyone brute force has a quality all its own, and the women will try to add a bit of sense to their manchildren colleagues. I'm interested in seeing where the story of ImposterCal is going to go and also liked the development in Cal as well as Stacy's relationship.
There's some great moments spread throughout the book like the origins of superpowers in the D-List Supervillain universe, Cal having to deal with becoming far more reptilian than he ever thought possible (while also being the worst infiltrator of all time), and quite a few well-described battles. I think Cal's Megasuit is too overpowered but, otherwise, this is a great work.
In conclusion, I recommend this book for fans of snarky, silly, but still heartfelt superhero literature. The book isn't quite as good as ORIGINS OF A D-LIST SUPERVILLAIN or the original CONFESSIONS OF A D-LIST SUPERVILLAIN but does an excellent job of setting up future adventures in the world.