Quick question: If you could have any super power, what would it be? OK, quick second question: What would you do if you had that super power, but it was illegal to use it? That’s the question that plagues Marvin, the protagonist of Hero Worship. Marvin and his friends Yvonne and Kent all have powers (Marvin’s is incredible speed), but they’ve been classified as “dirties” and therefore can’t use their powers—for good or evil—without running afoul of the law.

Unlike Yvonne and Kent, Marvin genuinely tries to avoid breaking the law, although sometimes he just can’t help himself if he knows he can save someone who’s afraid and in danger. Secretly, though, Marvin dreams of using his powers as a member of the Core, the exclusive circle of “clean” superheroes charged with upholding the safety and security of Loganstin’s citizens. But when beautiful Core member Roisin offers him just that opportunity, Marvin gradually realizes that his idols might not be quite so heroic after all.

Debut novelist Christopher E. Long is a veteran comic book writer, and Hero Worship reads much like a novelized version of a comic book, with plenty of action, deception, secret identities and sexy situations. The novel’s fast pace sometimes comes at the expense of exposition—readers will likely find themselves asking how Loganstin became such a violent, unstable place, and why “cleans” and “dirties” are defined as they are. But this same breakneck pace also means that Hero Worship is the perfect novel for comics fans ready for something a little more substantial but still lots of fun.

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