Title: V is for Villain
Author: Peter Moore
Release Date: 05/20/2014
Reviewed by: Emily
I loved the world-building of an Earth where super-powered genes are the norm and everyone who can is training to be a superhero. The thing that really pulled me in was the moral ambiguity. The Justice Force is made up of superheroes saving the world, but they’re not always knights in shining armor. Brad and his friends call themselves villains and commit crimes, but their intent is innately heroic.
The story was narrated by Brad, and I loved being able to delve deeper into his character with all the footnotes (I also just really like footnotes in general). I could have done without Brad’s Nice Guy (TM) attitude towards Layla, though. When she doesn’t return his romantic feelings immediately and intensely, he assumes it’s because he’s not conventionally attractive (super-strength powered muscles, golden-boy smile, etc.). “I didn’t have cool powers. Sure, she liked my telepathy and thought I was a great guy. But apparently that wasn’t enough. I knew what she wanted . . . I figured that if I had Blake’s powers and my personality, she’d fall for me totally and without question.” Cool your jets, dude. She just said that she wasn’t sure if she was in love with you.
Also, this ties in with another annoying thing about Brad – his superiority complex regarding his intelligence. It’s his coping mechanism for living as a non-physically powered person in a world where physical power is what is respected. This doesn’t make his behavior acceptable. Brad’s an awesome character, but he’s not a great guy. Not because he’s a villain (gray morality, remember?), just personality-wise.
There’s plenty of action, snark, and mystery to keep both superhero lovers and people new to the genre enraptured. V is for Villain asks the question, “Where is the line between good and evil?” It leaves you wondering how much harm can be excused for the sake of the elusive greater good.