Supervillains Anonymous by Lexie Dunne
I really wanted to like Supervillains Anonymous, by Lexie Dunne. The first book in the series, Superheroes Anonymous, was pretty fun and I was looking forward to seeing what happened after its cliffhanger ending, when Hostage Girl (aka Gail Godwin) was falsely accused of the murder of her close friend and superhero mentor, Angelica. Unfortunately, this second installment wasn’t as satisfying as the first; in fact, I found it very confusing and ended up not finishing it.
It started off well, though. As usual, Dunne’s writing is light-hearted, with a wry, modern voice. Even when Gail, the narrator and main character, is in prison for the murder of her friend — a pretty disheartening situation, if you ask me — she manages to crack jokes and make ironic observations about everything from her cell mate to the prison food. And the prison — Detmer Maximum Security Prison for Supervillains — didn’t disappoint. I wanted to see lots of campy supervillains; I got to see lots of campy supervillains. While Gail is in Detmer, she begins to tentatively trust some of the villains around her and, in the process, learn some of the background for why she’s been framed. In addition, new mysteries regarding the origin of the prison and the relationships between superheroes and supervillains are being set up.
Unfortunately, before we get too far with this part of the story, Gail is broken out of jail and is back with her hero-friends hiding in an apartment… including [highlight here for spoiler] Angelica, who is not dead after all. At this point, Supervillains Anonymous became somewhat episodic. Some of Gail’s friends left the apartment and did things but I wasn’t always sure why they were doing them or how they related to the main plot. Gail herself didn’t seem to do much at all other than sit around, ruminating on all the things she doesn’t know. Is she happy that she’s out of jail? That [highlight here for spoiler] Angelica is alive ? I had no idea; she seemed mopey and inactive. And when she finally does take action and has a face-to-face with her main antagonist, I did not understand a) the stakes of the scene, or b) most of the information they were alluding to.
At this point, and with regret, I decided to set Supervillains Anonymous down. I really wanted to like it; I really wanted to be drawn into the mystery behind the creation of the supes. But it seemed needlessly complicated and inactive. If I end up picking it up again, I’ll let you all know.
Have you read Carrie Vaughn’s Golden Age books? They deal with some similar concepts/themes, and I think you might enjoy them more.