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Hero Certification Program is a tough school

By Fiona Gregory, editor

May 13, 2014: This long-running serial has been getting some buzz for awhile now, but I didn’t get around to reading it until my curiosity was sparked by a recent Webfiction World podcast of the prologue and first 2 chapters. I found two chapters of it just weren’t enough! It’s quite the engaging read once you get into it.

Since it’s about superhero college, I’ll compare it to two other popular serials, Worm (superheroes) and Tales of MU (magical college). If you haven’t read either of these, well you probably should, but bear with me anyway. The Super Powereds world is not unlike the Worm world, most notably in that superpowers are randomly cropping up among the population; some superpowered individuals are steered into the highly regulated official hero status and work under government rules, while the rest are left to their own devices, or become villains. The Super Powereds world is divided into Supers, who can control their special abilities, Powereds, who can’t (big problems), and ordinary humans, and each group has some resentment for the others. Super Powereds is considerably lighter than Worm. The protagonists are still in training, so instead of battling monsters and villains they battle other Super students for the top spot in class. Literally – the typical way to evaluate the superhero trainees is to pit them against each other in crazily violent power vs, power sparring matches or other contests.

It’s like Tales of MU in that we get a detailed slice of college life in a unique context- new friendships, romances, rivalries, betrayals, classes and tests of the Hero Certification Program (it’s super tough, like boot camp), but, compared to Tales of MU, less kinky sex and more drunken parties. The author obviously has fond memories of college keggers, and we get to relive them.

The five (six?) main characters, who dorm together due to a shared feature of their background which is better kept hidden, have distinct personalities, powers, and backgrounds. Despite this, they soon become a tightknit group of friends (or do they?) My favourite part of the series is learning more about the mysteries contained in their backstories, and a certain dramatic event that takes place at the end of Year One. I found the fights and parties started to feel repetitive after awhile, although they certainly give a consistent picture of the college life of an aspiring superhero, as characters, powers, and relationships continually evolve.

So far we have Year One, Year Two, and Year Three still serializing. There’s also an offshoot story, Corpies, which follows a students’ father in his attempt to make a comeback as a hero, letting us see the world from a new perspective. Smashing up rampaging robots is all in a day’s work, and the boss still isn’t happy. I enjoy this story even more than the main one.

Definitely worth checking out; you may get hooked.

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