When his older brother is suddenly gifted with superpowers, a comics aficionado must swallow his pride and coach him as best he can.
One night, while hanging with his older brother, Zack, in the family treehouse, 11-year-old Luke Parker excuses himself to use the bathroom. In the five minutes he’s gone an extradimensional being named Zorbon the Decider has visited Zack and given him both superpowers and a dire warning: "Nemesis is coming." Luke, a comics-obsessed uber-dork, believes these powers would better suit him than his academically gifted older brother, but jealousy is quickly set aside in order to train Zack as Star Guy ("There's already a Starman. You'll probably get sued," Luke humorously informs Zack), the world’s first real superhero. The ensuing novel is a loving tribute to the genre consumed with capes, masks, supervillains, and great responsibility. The author never veers into mockery of the shoulders this story stands upon, nor is there any disrespect leveled at either brother. These kids are painted with broad strokes at first, but as the story goes on, each is given a second layer that anyone with a sibling will recognize. The true identity of Nemesis is unfortunately bungled, tripping up the novel in the end. Seeds are planted for a sequel, though, and few readers will be able to resist joining Star Guy on his next adventure.
As genuinely open-hearted as the genre that inspired it. (Adventure. 10-16)