I Did Not Give that Spider Superhuman Intelligence (Please Don't Tell My Parents #0.5) by Richard Roberts
Goodnight is being pulled back into superheroing, despite being officially retired.
But when pint-sized heroes Mish-Mosh and Psychopomp drop in her lap, along with an instant chance to save the day, how could she not form Team Tiny?! A superhero team wedded to Goodnight’s firm principle
Being a superhero should be fun! To Irene this is an awesome game. Lives are at stake, some terrible people need stopping – but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fun as well!
I love the quirky super hero world which we’ve seen through the lens of Penny Ack and her friends which has always been so much zany fun. And after three books of that, this book is perfect to delve a little behind all that
And lo we have this prequel which does this so perfectly
Going back several decades before Penny came on the scene we get to see the wonderful origin stories of several of the most compelling characters that loom large over the ongoing series. Not characters who are, perhaps, most involved in the books, but ones whose legends truly shape them by everyone knowing about them – like Mourning Dove. One of the good elements of the original three books is that there isn’t a lot of explanation of things that everyone knows- everyone knows about Mourning Dove so there isn’t really any need to explain her other than have her presence shadow the book. That’s well done. But it’s also awesome to see the origin behind that, the history and how she developed
And also how the city developed and how Goodnight’s visions of what super heroes and super villains should be and the whole wonderful underpinning of this series – that super heroing can be fun. That there should be rules, code of conduct, rules of engagement. That when super powerful beings clash there needs to be some rules or everyone suffers
And it wasn’t just abstract – there was a really excellent metaplot on the consequences of, for example, heroes and villains targeting revealed identities, homes, families: how it not only gives heroes and villains downtime but how someone’s family being targeted makes them more and more desperate and more and more dangerous. And dangerous + super powers = terrible consequences.
Basically, this book took the whole underlying awesome concept of this series – the idea that superheroing/villaining is a game, is something that can be fun, is something that has rules and can be made fun and zany (especially since so much of the superhero genre seems to be loving the whole grimdark gritty) is not just maintained but explained. It’s not just random quirkiness, there’s a real history, a real reality behind this. It has taken what is a very zany, immensely fun, let’s-suspend-disbelief-and-run-with-it world and given it far more powerful structure behind it