Reviews: Wearing The Cape

A great novel

Wearing the Cape is one of the rare examples of superhero prose and one I really-really like. It manages to do something which very few novelists and writers are willing to do today: tell an idealistic story about superheroes. The majority of superhero novels out there are either adaptations or deconstructions. I'm surprised to say supervillain perspective novels are rather common, myself included being guilty, but Wearing the Cape starts with a simple premise: what if a nice but otherwise ordinary girl was given the power of Supergirl?

Wearing the Cape isn't a solo superhero novel. The character of Hope, soon to be the hero Astra, is part of a world which has had superheroes for over a decade. They have their own version of the Justice League/Avengers, signature superhero ("Atlas"), and an entire subculture born out of the development of superpowers. It's a well-developed world with the role of superheroes explictly defined as search and rescue operatives or assistants to police.

The novel chronicles Hope's journey from being a newly discovered "Breakthrough" to becoming a fully-fledged hero. The novel shows a remarkable take on the superhero genre, illustrating with celebrity comes perks (even when you're in a selfless business). Hope not only has to deal with being suddenly the strongest woman in the world but also the newfound fame that comes with her position.

I especially liked the character of Artemis, who swiftly becomes Hope's version of Batman. The two have a natural easy-going friendship which works despite how completely different they are. The other supporting cast members are equally enjoyable with the characters of Seven and Atlas surpassing their archetypes to become fully-realized individuals. Even the villain, the deliberately oddball named Teatime Anarchist, has many a surprise inside him.

Is Wearing the Cape perfect? No, I can't say that it is. Hope seems a bit naive and we never quite get into her psyche as deeply as I want. Likewise, the team of supervillains we meet later in the novel goes beyond stereotypical. Despite this, I absolutely adore the novel and am actively looking forward to sequels from the writer. I heartily recommend this novel to anyone with even the slightest interest in the superhero genre.