Book Reviews

Comic Book Romance (Spandex and Superpowers 3) by Charles Payseur at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Fantasy / Magic / Superpowers / Romance / Humor/Comedy
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 29-November-2017

Book Blurb

A maximum-security supervillain prison plus a new colleague with a reputation for attracting trouble. What could possibly go wrong?

Calvin Kant is what anyone would want in a reporter—an excellent typist, a dogged investigator, and an upstanding citizen. Oh, and a superhero. At least, his alter ego, Maxim, is. Fleeing a messy situation at his last job, Cal arrives in Capital City without much direction—until fellow reporter Liang Lu sweeps him into a dangerous assignment.

A supervillain prison break leaves them trapped and in peril, with Cal juggling his growing attraction to Liang with his need to protect his secret identity. And that mess Cal’s running from could catch up with him at exactly the wrong moment, leaving him vulnerable. Luckily Liang’s got more than good looks going for him, and together the two men might just save the day—and each other—and find their own comic book romance.

Book Review

Capital City with its plethora of superheroes (and supervillains!) is back, and this third story in the ‘Spandex and Superpowers’ series is no less creative than the other two. They are linked through the world they are set in only, so you can read each one separately, but they all have a few things in common: a great sense of humor, superheroes with flaws and very “human” issues as well as supervillains to fight, and a plot where secret identities as well as secret crushes play a major role. All the books in this series also excel at transferring the feel of a comic book with all its over-the-top characters and events into the more “traditional” written form. I think that is a big part of why I am enjoying them so much.

This time it’s Calvin Kant, reporter by day and superhero “Maxim” when needed, who encounters some difficulties when he moves to a new job and a new city. Calvin works for the Capital City Chronicle, and that is not where the similarities to a certain other reporter of superhero fame end (just look at the cover and the guy on the left’s glasses – ring any bells?). But there are also tons of differences, like the trouble Calvin is running from and how it catches up with him and quite a few mistakes he makes as events unfold. His dedication to keeping people safe is what keeps him going.

Liang Lu is a fellow reporter, and while he is definitely a guy (and not a woman like his alter ego), he has a lot of the same qualities: he is stubborn, good-looking, and has a talent for getting himself and those around him into trouble. He is also a great guy to have at your back in a fight, and while many of his ideas are foolhardy to say the least, he is also capable of great heroism and is a worthy partner for both Calvin and Maxim.

Seeing the Superman basic storyline brought to life in the 21st century, “updated” characters and rivalries included, worked well for me. There are enough fresh ideas here to make for a very different reading experience, but the allusion to many well-known people and events from the “other franchise” had me grinning and even laughing out loud more than once. Whether you think of this as parody at its best or an amusing fresh look at archetypes most of us grew up with, this story makes for wonderful entertainment.

If you like superheroes and their sometimes all-too-human predicaments, if characters and problems that are bigger-than-life are your thing, and if you’re looking for a story with mystery, slow revelations, lots of action, and a heartwarming romance, then you will probably like this novella as much as I do. It’s as creative as it is funny!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 43 pages/15674 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 29-November-2017
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link