Protagonist Luke Parker is an obsessive comic book fan with a nerdy older brother named Zack. One night, the two are hanging out in their tree house when Luke leaves to go to the bathroom. During his five-minute absence, Zorbon the Decider shows up in an interdimensional spaceship, gives Zack six superpowers and then leaves just before Luke gets back.
Luke is, understandably, annoyed. Nevertheless, he decides to teach Zack about becoming a superhero, and will ultimately have to save him when a villain finds out his Secret Identity.
The series includes:
- My Brother is a Superhero
- My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord
- My Evil Twin is a Supervillain
- My Arch-Enemy is a Brain in a Jar
- My Cousin is a Time-Traveler (coming 2019)
The books contain examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming:
- For the first half of the first book, Luke seems incapable of remembering Zorbon the Deciders name. He admits this might be a bit of a mental block due to how bitter he is toward the guy.
- Christopher Talbot, messing up his dramatic reveal.Christopher Talbot: Luke, Laura, how nice to see you both again.
Lara: Its Lara.
Christopher Talbot: (prissy look)
- Adult Fear: You have to feel bad for Luke and Zacks parents. First their oldest son disappears. Less than a day later, they find out that the world is a week away from ending, and have to comfort their other son about the very strong chance of imminent death. (Though Luke is less concerned than they are.)
- Adults Are Useless: With Zack kidnapped and the world in danger, Luke actually does tell his parents that Zack is Star Guy...but they think that hes making it up as a defense mechanism due to all the stress. He then tries the police, but there are so many fake leads about Star Guys disappearance that they also prove unhelpful.
- Averted in later books with Colonel Crowe and Star Squad, who were put in place specifically to assist Star Lad, the real Mrs Dunham and Saoirse. Christopher Talbot also proves helpful, despite his ambiguous morality.
- Ascended Fanboy: Double Subverted—the whole gimmick is that Luke, who loves superheroes, Missed the Call in favor of his nerdy older brother, Zack. That said, Luke spends the entire series helping in Zack's superheroics anyway.
- Author Avatar: Arthur Veesat in Book 5 is all but stated to be David Solomons.
- Badass Normal: Cara, who manages to spend days on an alien spaceship and avoid detection, with nothing but school supplies to use as weapons.
- Luke also counts, holding pretty well on his own without superpowers.
- Blah, Blah, Blah: Zack says that he discovered a new power, and then launches into a story about going to the local sports center:This is what I heard: Blah blah blah. Excellent shower facilities. Blah blah blah. Delicious chicken sandwich. Blah blah blah. I can breathe underwater. Blah blah—
- Chest Insignia: Luke uses a brooch to make Zack a sigil with the letters SG spelled out in little stars.
- The three glowing stars that Zack actually has on his chest would probably make a good one, too, but oddly enough Zack doesnt think of using them on his costume. Christopher Talbot uses a variant of them.
- The Chooser of The One: Zorbon the Decider. Admittedly, he just seems to give powers to the first person he finds.
- The Chosen One: Zack. And then also Lara.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Luke seems to be a borderline example, as he often seems unable to tell fiction from reality. (Of course, some of those fictional things turn out to be true...)
- Contrived Coincidence: In Book 2 Star Lad (along with Dark Flutter) saves three planes from crashing. Luke's mother notes to Luke that the passengers on the plane were very lucky, as had something like that happened anywhere else in the world, Star Lad would not have been around to save them. This is what arouses Luke's suspicions. It turns out not to have been an accident at all but to have been deliberately done by the sue-dunhams as a way of figuring out Star Lad's strengths.
- Ditzy Genius: Despite his odd tendencies, Luke seems to grasp some pretty advanced scientific concepts for his age, and is reading Charles Dickens novels before he goes to secondary school. He's also very good at thinking on his feet, using his comic-book knowledge to come up with effective plans, such as when he works out how to use an alien teleporter to escape back to Bromley after being abducted by aliens in book 2.
- Double In-Law Marriage: Downplayed, but Zack has a crush on Cara (whos dating someone else) while Luke has Ship Tease with Lara. The former don't end up dating in the series, though it's implied that they might eventually, and while Lara ends up dating Serge for a time, she and Luke have no romantic feelings for each other.
- Dynamic Akimbo: Zack, in a few dramatic moments.
- Evil Twin: Stellar for Luke.
- Fake Relationship: In book 1 Luke pretends to be dating Lara to his family to excuse them spending a lot of time together while she tries to uncover Star Lad's secret identity and he tries to make sure she doesn't find out it's Zach.
- Family Theme Naming: The sisters Cara and Lara.
- First-Episode Twist: At the end of the first book, Lara also gets superpowers.
- Foreshadowing: In the second book Luke sees a cape flapping behind his reflection in the videogame console. Later in the alien's teleporter he sees a vision of himself as a superhero. This isn't a vision but actually an alternate version of himself who received superpowers instead of Zach, who makes a physical appearance at the end of the book and who drives the plot of My Evil Twin is a Supervillain.
- Several lines in Chapter 29 of My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord hint at the plots of the next few books. Luke thinks of the similarities between himself and Christopher Talbot: "We shared a brain. Not a giant-brain-in-a-jar-with-electrodes sense." In Book 4 he does actually encounter a brain-in-a-jar. Later when he and Serge make up: "I couldn't imagine a universe in which Serge and I weren't best friends." In the alternate universe of book 3 he and Serge aren't friends.
- In chapter one of book 4 Luke mentions a cousin in Birmingham. This cousin is the time-traveller in book 5.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: Zack and Luke switch bodies during the fourth book.
- Good Parents: Both of the Parker parents.
- Here We Go Again!: Luke missing Zorbon the Deciders return, during which he gives Lara powers.
- Heroic Wannabe: Luke, as well as Christopher Talbot.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Luke is understandably jealous about not getting superpowers. Christopher Talbot, too, to a much nastier extent.
- Intrepid Reporter: Lara, for the school paper. Her goal at the beginning of the first book is to discover Star Guys secret identity.
- I Should Write a Book About This: Luke records all of his adventures on notepaper. He gives these to Arthur Veesat, an author, who then writes in-universe the My Brother is a Superhero series.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again!: When Luke in Zach's body asks Mrs Dunham to prove her identity in Book 4, she recounts a story that Zach swore her not to tell anyone else, when she saved him from walking in front of a packed swimming pool audience with a hole in his trunks.Mrs Dunham: I know we promised never to speak of this again but under the circumstances I have no option. I hope you can forgive me.
- Like Brother and Sister: Luke is relieved to find that Lara only thinks of him in this way in Book 2. It ends up being Serge who she gets together with in the end, but they separate by Book 5.
- Like Father, Like Son: Luke and his father share a love for comics and sci-fi. He even named Luke as Luke Skywalker.
- Living Battery: Christopher Talbot finds a way to drain Zacks powers, but not take them totally; he needs to keep Zack around to repeatedly recharge himself.
- Loves My Alter Ego: Downplayed: Cara seems to have at least some romantic interest in Star Guy (whose first public act involved saving her), but thinks of Zack as "that weird kid from school who stalks me." Even then, it doesn't go much further than that and she is very much in a relationship with Matthias, her boyfriend. In fact, her kissing Star Lad in Book 2 is what convinces Lara that "Cara" is an imposter.
- Missed the Call: Luke left the tree house for five minutes in order to go to the bathroom. During that time, an interdimensional alien showed up to give his brother superpowers. This happens repeatedly.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In Book 5, Zach points out that many of the things he and Luke have had to save the world from - aliens trying to invade Earth, Lor-ayn escaping from her prison - only happened because he became a superhero.
- Not Wearing Tights: Despite playing most superhero tropes straight, Zack insists on just wearing a dark hoodie as his superhero costume, with the hood pulled down over his face. The only addition is the sigil that Luke makes him.
- Obliviously Evil: It takes a surprisingly long time for the first book's villain to get that he's not acting like a superhero."Look around you, Christopher Talbot. We're in your secret volcano headquarters, surrounded by your robot henchmen, with a genuine superhero—whom you kidnapped—hooked up to your superpower-sucking machine, while you put the whole world at risk. Face it, doesn't get more villainous than that."
- Parental Abandonment: Averted BIG TIME with Luke and Zack, whose parents are both still alive, still together, and very much involved with the lives of their sons.
- Poirot Speak: Serge, whos French, lapses into this.
- Powerful and Helpless: When Zach's radar sense develops, he becomes aware that a bank is being robbed but...
- Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Zack does this when using his telekinesis.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Zack, when hes trying to be dramatic.I. Am. Star Guy! Or perhaps Starguy. I. Haven't. Decided. Yet.
- Rescue Romance: Zack's big superhero premiere involves stopping a runaway bus that his crush, Cara, happens to be on. Even better, when she's getting off the bus she stumbles and Zack manages to catch her.
- Rooting for the Empire: In-Universe—when he was six, Luke first saw Star Wars and was shocked to learn that Darth Vader was his fathers favorite character.
- Samus Is a Girl: Luke spends most of the first book assuming that Nemesis is a girl, simply because the internet told him that Nemesis was a female figure in Classical Mythology. Nemesis is an asteroid, and the Big Bad is male.
- Secret Keeper: Luke. When Zack is kidnapped, he extends the group to Lara and Serge.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: To test Zacks force field, Luke's idea is basically "throw bricks at him." ** Played for Drama in the climax of the first book: to activate Zack's final power, which Luke is convinced must be Flight, he lets go of the villain's Powered Armor mid-flight and lets himself plummet toward the Earth, forcing Zack to save him.
- Shirtless Captives/Shirtless Scene: Christopher Talbot keeps Zack this way when hes experimenting on him. Justified, as its presumably to monitor the glowing stars on his chest. Zack apparently remains shirtless through the whole climax, since Luke mentions when his stars are glowing.
- Shout-Out: To many, many comic books. Also, Star Wars, which Luke and his father both love. (Guess where Luke got his name from.)
- Sixth Ranger: Dinah, Luke and Zach's time-travelling adoptive cousin, joins S.C.A.R.F. in book 5.
- Star Power: Gaining powers gives Zack three glowing stars on his chest, hence why he calls himself Star Guy. It turns out that he needs exposure to starlight to charge his powers.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Serge, who is as big a comic book fan as Luke, is often the only other person on his wavelength.Serge: My maman says now that I have commenced secondary school I am poised on the edge of a bigger world.Luke: Middle earth?Serge: Yes, I asked that too. But it is not what she meant.
- Superheroes Wear Capes: Luke makes Zack a cape, but he refuses to wear it. Not that Luke is bitter or anything. Zack finally starts wearing one by the end of the first book, upon learning that Cara supposedly "has a thing" for them.
- Superpower Lottery: Zorbon the Decider tells Zack that he has six new powers, which he and Luke discover as the story goes on:
- A force field.
- A sort of mental radar telling Zack whats happening in the surrounding area.
- The ability to breathe underwater. Or in space.
- Telepathy. Oddly this power seems to be the most draining and is only meant for emergencies. Later in the series, Zach becomes much more skilled with his telepathy and uses it more often, to the point where he gets annoyed at Luke for using it for trivial reasons.
- That Poor Cat: Luke uses a hammer to test Zach's force field. It rebounds and flies out of the tree-house.Zach: Did you hear that?Luke: Yes. I think it was Mrs Wilson's cat.
- Vacation Episode: Book 4 involves Luke, Zach, their family and friends taking a trip to Great Minds resort.
- Vagueness Is Coming: As Luke notes, Zorbon tends to show up once per book and deliver a vague prophecy before leaving.
- We Can Rule Together: Christopher Talbot offers to share Zacks powers with Luke, making him his sidekick. Luke admits that hes more tempted by this than he should be. (Come on, I was eleven.)
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Lukes initial reaction to Star Guy.Luke: You can't call yourself Star Guy!
Zack: Why not?
Luke: Because there's not a single superhero in history called 'guy.' What's why not.
Zack: (shrug) So I'll be the first.
- Writing Around Trademarks: Played for Laughs. Zack decides that he will call himself Starman!...until Luke mentions that DC Comics has that name copyrighted. So instead he'll be Star Boy! Wait, they own that one, too? Hence, "Star Guy" and finally Star Lad.