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Solid Action, Interesting Characters

By BGHilton, author of Clocks and Boxes

Oct 6, 2017: Mavericks is a superhero story set in the USA of 2043. The plot is fairly standard superhero fare, but what makes the story interesting is its characters. What could be a fairly standard generational rivalry is given an interesting twist by making it a rivalry between a villainous mother and a heroic daughter rather than the standard father/son villain/hero dynamic (Darkseid v Orion; Sabretooth v Wolverine etc). Superhero turned villain Rebecca is a fascinating character, avoiding many of the clichés that female supervillains are prone to. Rebecca seeks to end crime in the city of Blackburn through violent authoritarianism and is confronted by her daughter Jessica, who takes on a superhero persona to save her city.

This would be an interesting enough dynamic, but added to this is the fact that until recently Jessica has been working for Mouse, a female crime lord, who in a way acts as Jessica’s alternate mother figure. Jessica ends up opposing both Mouse’s lawlessness and Rebecca’s authoritarianism, with the help of several other supers who reform a defunct crime-fighting team. These other characters haven’t yet had quite the same chance to shine as Jessica and her mother, but they

The serial is team written, and as a result of this the quality of the prose varies. In the case of the narration this isn’t much of a problem. The descriptive language is clean and uncluttered. At its best it’s engaging and enjoyable, at its worst it’s still competent. The dialogue is a different story, ranging from naturalistic dialogue that flows well, to clunky and stilted verbiage.

A big minus for me is the length of the chapters. I know opinions vary on this a lot, but my preference for web fiction is chapters of 800-1500 words. The chapters in ‘Mavericks’ are much longer than this. Obviously, if this doesn’t bother you then it’s not much of a criticism, but if like myself you prefer something short and punchy that you can read on the bus to work, then it becomes a problem.

As I say, though, the real strength of the serial is its characters. One character that I haven’t mentioned is the city of Blackburn itself. What I love about the descriptions of Blackburn is that they are mercifully short on infodumps, but are still able to transmit a very clear idea of what the town is like and what sort of place it is to live. My one problem with the setting is that the supposed time of the story, the year 2043, doesn’t seem particularly justified. Otherwise, though, the city has such a lived in feel that I was genuinely surprised to learn that it wasn’t a real place, but a composite of several towns.

All in all, Mavericks is a story with potential. The opening few chapters are a little slow, but the pace soon picks up. If the authors can keep up the momentum that they’ve gathered while keeping the character relationships interesting, I think they’ll have a winner on their hands.

4 of 4 members found this review helpful.
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