Friday, April 27, 2018

Wearing the Cape: Recursion by Marion G. Harmon

    I'm a huge fan of Marion G. Harmon's WEARING THE CAPE. I have loved the adventures of Hope Astra since she first appeared on the scene and have followed the series ever since. It's probably my favorite superhero series after Jim Bernheimer's Confessions of a D-List Supervillain and Darius Brasher's the Omega Superhero. Speaking as a superhero writer myself, I also think the books benefit from being one of the few ones out there with a clearly unambiguous good guy as the protagonist.

    The premise for Recursion is Hope has found herself sent back into time to the beginning of her career after the first book. While her memories of the future are a bit vague, she immediately starts trying to set right what went wrong the first time. Sadly, we don't get to see what Hope's life with Atlas would have been like as I was really invested with that relationship. Strangely, despite this being the basis of the Teatime Anarchists' plots, Hope insists she can't "really" change the past.

    I like the self-awareness Hope has about how much she's changed since the events of the first book. The original Hope was nothing more than a social debutante and kind of a spoiled sweet character who was a little too good to be true. Since that time, she's suffered loss and tragedy after tragedy so that it's hardened her to become a really dangerous young woman. The new costume, which is a bit too much on the "stereotypical comic book costume" side is also a sign of empowerment as she wants to show off how much she'd worked on becoming a well-muscled badass.

    Hey, if you've got it, flaunt it.

    I also liked seeing Hope deal with Blackstone and other older heroes again. I always liked when the books dealt with the "old guard" of events. The conflict between Hope and those supporting Breakthrough Registration is also more clearly articulated and would have given the series a better overarching plot than the sometimes meandering (however fun) nature of the series.

    So, why four stars instead of five? Eh, I'm going to sound petty here but I'm not a fan of Kitsune. The Fox Spirit just rubs me the wrong way. He/she has no personal boundaries, is very manipulative, and is always lying to Hope. I just never warmed to them the way I did her other love interest (or even highly unlikely wish-ships like her and Artemis). I also feel like Kitsune keeps Artemis and Hope from their girl posse as the latter were some of my favorite duos in superhero prose. As long as we're seeing Kitsune, we aren't seeing much of Artemis and that's a shame.

    Despite this, I overall enjoyed the book and hope Marion G. Harmon continues writing them for the indefinite future. I think Recursion is a good reminder of what made the original books great and giving hope an actual plot to fight (the still-looming apocalypse) is good to provide those books direction.


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