In a world of superheroes acting as citizens’ protectors, Earth’s salvation from certain ruin may lie in the hands of a brilliant supervillain in this debut adventure.
When genius Terry Markham lost his little brother, Bobby, he adopted a superhero persona his sibling had created for him. But as his brother’s death was the indirect result of a superhero not interceding during a terrorist attack (to preserve his secret identity), Terry goes the villain route. As Doctor Fid, he dons powered-armor suits and habitually faces off against superheroes in the United States. His ultimate goal is to reveal to the public its heroes’ flaws, or maybe inspire someone to become a better mighty defender and legitimately earn the citizens’ unconditional trust and praise. Terry even believes a superhero orchestrated the senseless murder of a retired supervillain. Doctor Fid doesn’t belong to any of the numerous superhero/villain groups and encounters nefarious individuals from both sides. But there may be a common enemy with a diabolical plan to either conquer or destroy the world. Terry makes alliances with adversaries and, with help from an android girl, Whisper, sets out to combat Earth’s greatest threat, all in an effort to save citizens that fear and hate Doctor Fid. Reiss incorporates into his tale genre trademarks, like explosive hero/villain battles, that occasionally fall into familiar terrain (Fid’s myriad suit variations are akin to Iron Man’s). But more relatable subplots elevate the narrative: Terry steps into the role of big brother once again with Whisper, whose “Daddy” is missing; and someone attempts to oust him from the biotech company he founded. Similarly, the story humanizes the super-characters: Terry, for one, knows nearly everyone’s real name, despite successfully hiding his own. Nevertheless, dry, understated humor fills the pages. For example, Terry contemplates a new liver with “programmable functionality” to balance the alcohol/buzz ratio. And his combat drones expertly capture footage he leaks to the internet (specially edited to humiliate his superhero rivals).
A powerful bad guy with moral standards who’s well-rounded and highly entertaining.