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INTERVIEWING LEATHER

Want to kill a day? There’s no better way.

By t4nky, author of Nowhere Island University

Jun 10, 2015: [Note: This was a review swap with BillyHiggins.]

Ok, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way. The table of contents does not exactly put its best foot forwards. Also, especially in the later chapters, the author should probably read them over a bit and do some editing.

See? That wasn’t so bad. Now let’s get on to the good parts.

Now, the things I really like in super hero stories (or any story, really,) is when it focuses on someone who normally doesn’t get that much attention. That was one of the reasons why I like the interludes in Worm or the episodes Tales of Ba Sing Se and The Beach in Avatar. They gave me insight into the lives of people I wouldn’t even normally think twice about. There’s also the Star Wars: Republic Commando series which gets you thinking about the clones from the prequels.

This story is told from the perspective of a reporter doing an expose on the life of a super villain and her crew. The reporter in question, Todd Chapman, is a somewhat naive man who works for a magazine similar to The Rolling Stone. He gets assigned to interview the titular Leather, a villainess who is currently "on tour."

What follows next is a realistic take on how silver and dark-age supervillains and the big business behind them. Now, when I say "realistic," I don’t mean grim and dirty. I mean an examination of how the business works: how you find minions, how you move your base, and why the villain always monologues.

It may sound boring, but the characters make it worth it. Leather, for instance, is a wonderfully complex character. It immediately becomes apparent that she’s basically an actress as much as a criminal. She does what she does (all theivery, no murder or strong-arming) for the publicity. While she can be threatening, most of the time she’s an energetic businesswoman/actress who has great respect for the heroes.

However, that respect isn’t a two-way street. Darkhood (who Todd actually gets to talk to at the end,) is the person in many super hero stories who is there to embody what the author thinks a superhero should be. It is he who is the one to point out how truly narcissistic and greedy that Leather is. He also is there to push Todd towards the sequel (which hasn’t happened yet.)

Todd, for his part, is a reporter. This is reflected subtly as, even though it is told from the first person, you forget he’s there. However, his opinions are omnipresent, changing audience perception. In fact, he’s such a good reporter that all the people he meets are impressed with his willingness to take risks to get the best story possible. It is quite a big step up from talking to celebrities, and one that he seems to welcome

So, while not a tour-de-force like Worm, it is an amazing short read. Like Leather and Darkhood, I too await the sequel to Todd’s story.

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