The League of Heroes would be out of a job if there were no supervillains for them to vanquish, and the Vindico have played that role for a long time now—too long. With an eye toward retirement, they kidnap five teenagers to train as their replacements. Giving kids the capacity to mind-meld and shift matter: What could possibly go wrong?

Author Wesley King strikes a balance between superhero action and humor in The Vindico. It’s a little like Lish McBride’s horror-humor mashup Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, only the laughs here come from the consequences of giving teenagers superpowers. When flaky ladies’ man Hayden spies a chamber to trap and destroy the Vindico, it’s only natural that he’d neglect to check the “destroy” function until after the archvillains are trapped. Needless to say, chaos ensues.

The five teens fight, form alliances, switch sides, pair up, split up and fight some more, all of which can get confusing. But the yin-yang symbiosis of the good and bad guys is neatly rendered, and each character gets enough backstory to make them distinct. The fight scenes are winners, too, frenetic and fantastical. The Vindico is good (and evil!), action-packed and a very good time.

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