Captain Future and friends struggle to save the solar system from a separatist plot in a rebooted 1940s pulp science-fiction franchise.
Curt Newton—aka Captain Future—is the child of two scientists murdered by greedy Sen. Victor Corvo and raised by unlikely guardians: Grag, an intelligent robot; Simon Wright, his parents' sometime colleague, now a brain housed in a drone; and Otho, an android originally intended to be Wright's replacement body. Curt is trained as the typical action-adventure Renaissance man until Wright tells him of his parents' murderer. Curt sets out for vengeance but accidentally discovers—and foils—a presidential assassination attempt instead. Curt is drafted by the authorities to find the assassins' leader with the aid of obligatory love interest/space cop Joan Randall. The assassins are revealed as some of the setting's "aliens": humans genetically modified to settle other planets who identify now as Martians, etc. If all of this sounds familiar to pulp fans, it's because there's precious little new here. Steele's nostalgic devotion to the original leaves the narrative trapped in the 1940s. Curt is a Boys' Own hero who is cringingly immature around Joan, supposedly because of social naiveté (yet Otho, raised the same way, manages not to stare at Joan's breasts); Curt's character arc is the simplistic realization that you shouldn't murder people for revenge (but offing nameless thugs is fine); and the "aliens" are, awkwardly, drawn entirely from non-Anglo cultures. The cast of supposed geniuses are frequently idiots to further the plot, and whenever the story risks getting interesting—such as exploring the legitimate frustrations of the Martians—things quickly revert to bar fights.
Had Steele spent as much effort deepening the characters as he does explaining a plasma gun, Captain Future might have a future; as is, this effort flounders in the past.