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THE MAD MASK by Barry Lyga

THE MAD MASK

From the Archvillain series, volume 2

By Barry Lyga

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-545-19651-2
Publisher: Scholastic

Continuing to plead that he’s not the Archvillain (2010) everyone makes him out to be, a teenager with super powers complicates his case by falling in with a hilariously crazed megalomaniac bent on world conquest.

It’s just so frustrating. Despite a megagenius IQ and super powers of his own, every scheme Kyle has concocted to unmask widely admired superhero Mighty Mike as an alien in disguise has gone wrong while making him look like the Bad Guy. Worse yet, Kyle’s long-time best friend Mairi has taken to hanging out with the hunky creep! Yet another teen superhero appears on the scene, this one wearing a cool wooden mask, given to frothy third-person rants (“The Mad Mask fears no one—man, woman, child, or platypus!”) and sporting both plans for a titanic killer robot and some impressive tech gear. It's too much; Kyle disregards the reservations of the mouthy sidekick AI he’s constructed in his iPod and jumps at the chance to, well, at least show Mighty Mike up. Styling himself “The Azure Avenger” but generally known as “The Blue Freak,” Kyle isn’t the most reliable of POV characters, but his intentions are generally good, despite a tendency to rationalize iffy acts like stealing chemicals for his basement lab or altering his parents’ memories with a brain-wave manipulator. By the end, he finds himself actually having to help Mighty Mike. Figures.

A fizzy mix of multilayered comedy and awesomely destructive battles, presented from an unusual narrative angle. (Adventure. 10-13)