Sunday, January 06, 2008

Book Review: Hero by Perry Moore

Book: Hero
Author: Perry Moore
Published: 2007

Thom’s not your average teenage boy. For one thing, he’s gay. For another, he’s got a superpower (healing). For yet another, he’s trying out for the prestigious League of Superheroes, without his father’s knowledge. And finally, that same father is the most reviled ex-superhero there ever was.

None of this is making his life very easy at the moment. But then superheroes start turning up dead, and the wrong supervillain gets blamed. Before he knows it, Thom is in it up to his neck, standing up to the entire League of Superheroes. All he’s got on his side is his team--a hot-tempered pyromaniac, a precognitive octegenarian, a walking disease factory, and a disgraced sidekick. Of course, there’s always the sexy and intriguing Dark Hero. Still, the odds aren’t so good. In order for Thom to save the world, he’s got to answer a very important question: Is it all chiseled jaws and superstrength, or is heroism something that you actually do?

I heard a lot about this book, as the “gay superhero” novel. Now you have to admit, that’s one helluva hook, and Moore has a blast with it, making sly, sideways references to classic superheroes. But there’s so much more going on, from Thom’s troubled relationship with his dad and the blossoming one with tight-lipped Goran to his mother’s mysterious disappearance several years before. This is not just a gay superhero book--it’s a story of identity, secret and otherwise. Thom is a young man who has neither a mask or a nom de cape. All he can be is himself, but that’s so hard it’s going to take a superhero to pull it off.

One last note--reading the climax, I thought, “Oh, god, this would make such an amazing graphic novel!” Moore’s descriptions, always visual, ratchet it up so it’s like reading a description of a comic book. Perry Moore, are you listening?


Anonymous said...

That echoes some of the reaction I've heard to the book -- since Moore is pulling on all these superhero/comic book tropes, why isn't Hero a comic book?! In this interview he explains:

That’s another reason I wrote this as a book first and not as a comic book because I was never going to create a character that another company could own and, all of a sudden, they bring in some other writer to say, “Oh, it was all a dream. He’s straight now.”

So the desire for intellectual control really fed into that.

In the interview he also says Stan Lee wants to make a movie of it...!

Bibliovore said...

Thanks for the link, Lisa! I hadn't considered that aspect of it, but intellectual control is a biggie.

I'd still love to see an adaptation though . . . or maybe the movie. :)