A less-than-super superhero and his equally awkward friends try to save their town without destroying it.
White, 12-year-old Marshall Preston has some incredible superhuman powers that don’t mix so well with his regular-human attributes. Laser vision is significantly less than delightful when paired with crossed eyes and poor aim, and the ability to fly becomes a (very!) messy problem when you suffer from severe motion sickness. Marshall dreams of the abilities the kids in the Gifted Powers Program have and of the fame of more typical superhero teams, but he’d rather remain in obscurity than be ridiculed as a “Defective”—kids with powers that don’t work quite right. So when he finds a note about an imminent museum heist, Marshall tries doggedly to alert the incredulous authorities, only to reluctantly take on the mission himself when no one believes him. But as a deadlier plot by the sinister Man with No Name surfaces, Marshall finds himself on an unlikely team of Defectives as they fight with all their considerable and ungainly abilities to save the day. Brunner has delivered a story full of quirkiness and self-deprecating humor, and though the panel illustrations don’t always work hand in hand with the text, Mackay breathes uproarious life into a delightfully awkward and occasionally gross narrative. The first-person narration seems to want to be voice-over exposition, but rather than complementing the illustrated action and dialogue, it feels like a disruption—disorienting in a book that is already of two minds about being a graphic novel.
An entertaining book that seems it would really rather be a cartoon show. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 8-12)