The Astounding Antagonists sounds like something that should be an actually comic book, not a novel that is based off of superheroes and villains. Yet it works, and thanks to Rafael Chandler it is done really well.
This is a world where superheroes aren’t simply born the way they are, but due to prisms that landed on earth, gifting many with their power. Some don’t get a dramatic change – Motley is a jewel thief and along with having snappy one liners and jokes, she is able to make leaps from buildings easily and have gymnastic abilities. Cube Girl creates cubes, her name gives it away, but then you have one’s like Princess who has diamond hard skin. This is just a few examples within the book of the heroes, villains and those in-between.
The story does focus around our villains though and yet when reading through, you find yourself cheering them on.
Agon is essentially the man with a plan, unlike other villains in the book he doesn’t have a gift, all he has is his intellect and his ability to make a plan should he need to escape. He’s the one who wants to bring down the strongest superhero of them all, Sacrament, the one who started it all.
The story goes into detail of the villain’s back stories, none are done as deeply as Motley though who I love as a character and connected with.
That is important about this book, although there are a lot of characters, you don’t get lost in which one is which, who is able to do what, Chandler easily makes you know who each character is and you remember. They are all well written, some are likeable and others you know you wouldn’t want to have near you.
Another nice addition is Helen Damnation, a blue skinned alien who works alongside Agon, who refuses to kill and who has a unique way of speaking. It’s impressive that the author was able to keep on top of how Helen spoke and not deviate away from it at any time, or perhaps the editors might have spotted some mistakes in that regard and got Chandlier to fix it? Either way Helen was a unique addition to the villain’s group and I enjoyed how she was an alien but that was never focused on too much, she was given her own space much like the other characters to grow and let the readers warm to her.
It’s an excellent e-book and I would say anyone who enjoy’s comics should definitely go and read this book.