A vlogger who is struck by lightning receives remarkable powers in this rousing adventure novel that launches a franchise that's a parting gift from Stan the Man.
The late, great Lee (Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible, 2015, etc.) contributed a lot of ideas to this launching of a new universe dubbed Alliances, starting with an Audible original called A Trick of Light, created by Lee, Luke Lieberman, and Ryan Silbert and here translated to more conventional fiction by Rosenfield (Inland, 2014, etc.). It’s a fairly universal superhero mythology with a few contemporary twists thrown in for good measure, and it’s surprisingly fast-paced and highly entertaining. Our primary protagonist is Cameron Ackerson, an ambitious teen YouTuber whose dad disappeared during a mysterious storm on Lake Erie. When he’s struck by lightning in a characteristically Lee origin story, Cameron discovers he’s been gifted with the ability to manipulate electronics—he's “cyberkinetic,” as he puts it. His counterpart is his online buddy Nia, a mysterious hacker kept in check by her father, known only as “the Inventor.” Unfortunately, Cameron’s new abilities attract the attention of a cryptic organization called OPTIC (that’s Omni Psyop Tactical Intelligence Corporation, because, sure, why not?) that one of Cam’s friends quickly dubs a second-rate “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” led by a formidable Nick Fury type named Olivia Park, a wetwork-enhanced bionic woman with a temper and a fierce resolve. More dangerously, Cameron and his new comrades have also been noticed and are the subject of a deadly pursuit by Xal, an otherworldly claw-and-tentacle type who wears people like a Doctor Who skin suit and has a real beef with Nia’s dad and a jones for Cam and Nia. With a characteristically enthusiastic intro by Stan and a thoughtful afterword about the creative process by Lieberman and Silbert, this is a wild but inventive introduction to a new intergalactic struggle that promises more adventures to come.
Not quite marvelous but immersive, propulsive, and engaging in the ways that sometimes only comic books can be.