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Literature / The Last Superhero

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The Last Superhero is a 2012 novel by Stephen Altrogge. It follows John Utticus Wagner, retired superhero, his son Orville Wagner, a failed klutzy superhero, and John Wagner II, Orville's son as they attempt to make their mark in the world by taking on a new supervillain by the name of Boom who has taken to setting up bombs in the city. They quickly learn that this new supervillain knows who they are and is looking to take them out first.

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This novel exhibits the following tropes:

  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Before he hung up his cape, Orville was known for such feats as derailing a subway car while trying to catch a purse-snatcher and severely injuring a heavily armored professor to whom he was supposed to deliver a "pulled punch". John Jr. admits that he's broken multiple ribs and arms of his classmates while attempting to participate in sports.
  • Heroic Lineage: The Wagners have been using their powers to affect much of U.S. history (well, nominally, at least. Not much seems different than our world).
  • The Klutz:
    • Orville was nearly kicked out of college, and was drummed out of superheroing, due to his general clumsiness and tendency to do exactly the wrong thing.
    • Orville's wife has Super Speed, but does not have the sped-up perception that's a Required Secondary Power, so she too tends to crash into things.
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  • Superhero School: The University of the Phoenix, which is where Orville went to school and where the primary confrontation goes down. Secretly, it's actually also a Academy of Evil that's training supervillains.
  • Super Speed: Orville's wife has Super Speed, but has difficulty telling when to stop.
  • Super Strength: A general trait of the Wagner family, sometimes to their own detriment due to how easy it is to damage the world around them.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: The Wagners visit a supplier for superheroes who seems very resigned to the fact that most of the tools wind up being tested on him, if only by accident.

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