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RUMOR'S BLOCK

Hearsay’s Sqaure

By Unillustrated, author of Citadel

Dec 1, 2014: This story can’t quite decide if it wants to be a fairly generic, though well done, superhero story or a story that focuses on choices and their consequences. Which totally fits. The writing is good, overall. There’s a few their/they’re style mix-ups but not too bad. The setting specific superhero jargon can be pretty confusing and doesn’t seem to add anything. The characterization, on the other hand, is very well done. But what really drives the story, what made it stand out to me, is the basic premise.

Rumor’s Block is about a support group for supers. You show up, in costume (or at least a mask), state your name, your power and talk about a problem that being a super is causing you. It’s not quite AA for capes. The group isn’t intended to help you quit. Instead, it’s to resolve doubts.

In any remotely realistic setting, being a superhero is hard. Sure, Flash can still spend time with his loved ones. He spends more time traveling to the past than the Doctor and he can move and think so fast that he uses terms to describe it that most physics students wouldn’t recognize. Batman has access to the league’s teleporter and Alfred to cover for him. Not to mention, Bruce Wayne can’t really get fired.

The characters in this story don’t have it so easy. A pyrokinetic having trouble controlling his powers and doubts about the motives of the draconic ghost that gave them to him. An underage speedster whose superhero sister doesn’t want him risking his life. A tech hero with the urge to start working on his body. I’m not even going to talk about the guy with mental powers. His thing is just too cool to spoil.

The point is, the protagonist considers himself responsible for fixing these people. Or at least, resolving their doubts. A hero that hesitates or gets distracted won’t last long. It’s his job to help them decide if they really should be heroes or just live an ordinary life. The author has clearly put real thought into the concept and it makes for a great read.

There’s also some ongoing stories with villains, origin mysteries, all the classic superhero stand-by stuff. If you like superhero fiction and want to take a look at something new, this is a good choice.

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