novels by Jennifer Estep take place in Bigtime, New York, a town which is overrun by superheroes and about every superhero trope out there.
Everyone is totally Genre Blind
, especially with figuring out that having an Alliterative Name
more than likely indicates that person is a Super Hero
with a name that starts with that letter. Some characters are dedicated to finding out the identities of superheroes, and have to resort to other means of deduction. This leads to the interesting experience of the Genre Savvy
reader knowing long before the characters do who is who.
The novels are:
- Karma Girl: The narrator found out her fiancÚ and best friend are a superhero and supervillain, respectively, who boink; dedicates herself to outing all supers.
- Hot Mama: The narrator is a superhero.
- Jinx: The narrator is not a superhero, but is from a family of superheroes, and does have a power that she can't make useful.
- Nightingale : The narrator is not a superhero, but has super senses. The story revolves around her encounter with superhero and the love affair and danger that follows
- Karma Girl Christmas: Karma Girl has to protect a large donation of charity toys from the ubervillians of Bigtime
These novels provide examples of::
- Abhorrent Admirer: Any member of Slaves for Superhero Sex to any superhero.
- Abnormal Ammo: Bandit's revolver fires special bullets
- Alliterative Name: 90% of the cast.
- An Ice Person: Frost and Wynter
- Badass Biker: Johnny Angel (also a Badass Normal in his first two incarnations).
- Badass Grandpa and Never Mess with Granny: Grandpa Belluci (Johnny Angel #1 and later Grandpa Pain, Granny Cane a.k.a. Grace Caleb.
- Badass Normal: some of the Johnny Angels, Talon, and perhaps Granny Cane?
- Badass Longcoat: Bandit
- Big Bad (tons of 'em)
- Big Eater: Fiona
- Black and Nerdy: The Hermit, a computer expert, who wears garish sweater vests, glasses, and polka dot bow ties as his alter ego
- Blessed with Suck: Bella, whose Winds of Destiny, Change power comes with tons of Power Incontinence, and she has very little control over it. Somewhat with Abby and Bandit whose super senses make bright lights, strong smells, and even the dropping of car keys headache inducing.
- Blow You Away: Tornado
- Clark Kenting: Far too many characters to conveniently list.
- The Cracker: Lulu
- Crimefighting with Cash: Talon, and to a lesser extent Striker and Fiera.
- Elemental Powers: Fiera, Tornado
- The Empath: Karma Girl
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Many phlebotium items have descriptive names, such as ultra-durable metal Solidium, explosives Explodium and Obliteron, sedative Relaxidon and narcotic Euphoridon.
- Fantastic Drug: Euphoridon
- Five-Man Band: The Fearless Five, originally:
- Flying Brick
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Prism's weapon of choice.
- Fridge Logic: Carmen spends a good three years outing supers. She says outright that 1) villains try to threaten her to keep her quiet and 2) villains are not shy about killing people to keep them quiet. How did she make it that long without some villain killing her?
- With multiple comments on the pain induced by moderate noises why does Bandit (whose weapon is a revolver) and Abby not fall to their knees when guns go off.
- Fiera eats a ton of food to manage her super metabolism, yet no mention of needing to use the bathroom.
- Many ubervillains are mentioned as having been arrested before, but their identities are still unknown. Why weren't they unmasked and fingerprinted?
- Fridge Horror: Carmen narrates that the Colorful Crusader and other superheroes who suffered unknown fates after there powers became useless in a fight
- Genre Blind: everybody.
- Gentleman Thief: Debonair though he's more of a Gentleman Art Restorer.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Striker, Scorpion
- Hacker Cave
- Harmless Villain: The Mintilator, an ubervillan whose shtick is forcing people to practice proper hygiene. He gets less silly when he actually uses his superpower, which is to produce and throw acid.
- Heel Realization: A good part of the first book is Carmen coming to realize exactly how much harm her quest to publicly unmask all supers because of the sins of her ex-fiance had done.
- How To Give A Character Superpowers: various methods
- Invisibility: Invisible Ingenues
- Joker Immunity: This gets mentioned in-universe, with superheroes noting that ubervillains frequently return after ending up in No One Could Survive That situations. Despite this, the villains in each of the novels always end up either dead or missing, presumed dead, and never return. The villains of the short story are simply captured and sent to prison.
- Legacy Character: The Johnny Angel identity has been passed down from father to son for three generations.
- Mad Scientist: Frost
- Made of Explodium: Is sometimes literally true, as Explodium is an actual material in this universe.
- Mind over Matter: Mr. Sage, Malefica
- The Notable Numeral: the Fearless Five, the Terrible Triad
- Obfuscating Disability: Hangman
- One Degree of Separation: Carmen used this trope to find the identities of supers from the identities of those supers she already unmasked. In addition to every member of the Fearless Five being closely associated with at least one other member while unmasked, there are also numerous other examples, including: Fiera dating Johnny Angel 3, Johnny Angel's sister dating Debonair, Johnny Angel's grandfather dating Granny Cane, who was Debonair's former guardian, and Granny's grandson, who is also Debonair's foster brother, the ex-boyfriend of Fiera's CFO, and the owner of everybody's favorite restaurant, is strongly implied to be Swifte.
- Personality Powers: This should be obvious from the rest of the entries!
- Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Captain Freebeard and his Saucy Wenches, who sail around the harbor raiding passing cruise ships for food and liquor, which they use to hold wild parties. Since the passengers are invited to join in said parties, the cruise lines consider them to be a tourist attraction rather than a threat.
- Plain Jane: How Abby Appleby views herself compares to pin up models like Fiona Fine
- Playing with Fire: Fiera
- Psychic Powers: Mr. Sage
- Required Secondary Powers: For example, Fiera doesn't burn herself.
- Rescue Sex: The fan group Slaves for Superhero Sex, or SSS, tend to place themselves in mortal peril so that they can get rescued by superheros and then offer them this. Most non-members (Including the superheros) find their behavior rather disturbing.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Bandit's weapon of choice
- Saving Christmas: Karma Girl Christmas.
- Shout-Out: All three of Estep's fantasy series, Bigtime, Elemental Assassin, and Mythos Academy, contain occasional references to the other two. Despite this, they are not in the same universe.
- Sixth Ranger: Lulu
- Siblings in Crime: Siren and Intelligal
- Super Senses: Striker, Abby Appleby, and Bandit
- Super Speed: Swifte
- Super Strength: Striker, Fiera, Prism, and Hangman. Johnny Angel III has some enhanced strength. All heroes get a stat boost in strength compare to a non-super human of the same size.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Karma Girl, sorta, but she's more of a promoted Sixth Ranger.
- Technopath: Hermit
- Teleporters and Transporters: Debonair
- Throwing Off the Disability: Lulu with the help a mega-watt lightening ball. Though it isn't an instant cure, it just takes her from permanently crippled to being able to learn to walk again. At the end of the series she was still undergoing physical therapy and required the use of a cane to walk.
- Urban Legend Love Life: Debonair
- When Elders Attack: Granny Cane and Grandpa Pain
- Your Cheating Heart: Discovering that her fiance was both a superhero and cheating on her - on their wedding day - is what set Carmen Cole on her quest to out all supers.