Thursday, May 24, 2018

Blackjack: Dead or Alive by Ben Bequer review

    BLACKJACK is a series I very much enjoy and hope eventually gets on audiobook. It's one of my favorite supervillain series and that's a bigger subgenre of superheroes and fantasy than you'd expect. It's the story of a super-tough, super-smart archer who has the problem of being unable to employ his abilities effectively--also the fact he's internationally hated due to being blamed for the deaths of many heroes (he was only guilty of one).

    The third book opens with Blackjack in basically the same situation as Julian Assange in that he's stuck living inside the base of the Justice League equivalent as the rest of the world wants to hang him from a tree. Blackjack ends up being turned over to the authorities, which sours him on the superheroes, only to be "rescued" by people trying to kill him. Deciding to lay low, he ends up in Romania where he finds it's remarkably easy to become a big wig there when you already have millions stashed away. Just don't try to buy Dracula's castle.

    The story is still very entertaining but suffers a bit from the fact Blackjack is going a bit overboard with his mourning and regret over his actions as a supervillain. Which is realistic because, hey, he killed some innocent people including the equivalent of the Flash but not quite as fun as when he's living the high life as a Romanian gangster.

    I also wasn't too fond of Apogee's handling as she's gone from being the very fascinating moral heart to a flip-flopper who can't make up her mind whether Blackjack is someone she hates or loves. Also, I'm not at all interested in Blackjack trying to save the racist murderer who just so happens to be the father of one of his victims.

    Mr. Haha is a good villain as is Brutal and Blackjack 2.0. We definitely are getting some interesting new characters introduced in this world as well as set ups for future conflicts. I'm glad the series has moved away from the Lightbringers to more earthly antagonists. The only problem is BJ is so powerful it's difficult to believe many local supers can challenge him.

    Despite this, the book is incredibly entertaining for the vast majority of its run and I loved the character of Burpo that serves as BJ's fixer while he's in Romania. I'm going to continue reading this series and isn't that the best endorsement of them all?


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