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Worm…need I say more?

By unclepulky, author of Jolt

Dec 12, 2015: People are often very quick to judge something based solely off of its subject matter or format. One person may say that all cartoons are for kids, and thus, not quality entertainment, while another may dismiss art films as boring and confusing. While I do have my biases just like everyone else, I am open to all forms of media. I would mention the old “Don’t judge a book by its cover” saying, but frankly, it’s a cliché. If you’re wondering why then I brought it up at all, it’s to demonstrate an example of what an inadequate writer may have a character say. This brings me to today’s subject, a web serial brought to us by J. McCray; a work of art where clichés are absent, characters are brought to life, expected tropes are subverted, and themes of growing as a person, corruption in organizations, and loss are explored.

And it’s all about a teenage girl who controls bugs and becomes a super villain. I speak of course, of Worm.

Worm takes place in the fictional city of Brockton Bay. In this city, and throughout the world, superheroes and super villains are numerous, and aside from threats such as the monstrous Endbringers and the mass murdering Slaughterhouse 9, most of them simply engage in games of “cops and robbers.” Now some people reading this may be thinking “Oh look, another superhero story. What’s so special about that?” But of course no one is actually thinking that because if you’re interested in reading any web fiction, odds are, you’ve at least heard about Worm.

The protagonist of our story is Taylor Hebert, a 16 year old girl who is the victim of vicious bullying at her high school. One day,after going through immense emotional trauma, she finds that she has developed the ability to control insects, and begins dreaming of an escape from her Hellish high school life by becoming a superhero. However, [her first night out as a hero], due to her unique and creepy power, and her all black costume, she is thought by all to be a villain, and is given the moniker Skitter. From there, friends and enemies are made, and confrontations are had, as the reader gets to see just how much of an endless spiral of misery the life of Taylor is. I won’t say anything more about the story, as I wouldn’t dare give any of it away.

Despite being about superheroes, it is made very clear from the beginning that Worm is for older readers. Not only because it takes a certain level of intelligence and experience to understand all of the subject matter and the subtext, but because there are some very grim moments. Not the least of which is possibly the most disturbing moment in all of fiction. I won’t say what it is, but I will say that if you read Worm, you’ll know exactly what moment I’m referring to.

Some of my personal favorite characters in Worm are Bitch, Taylor’s best friend, who has the ability to turn her dogs, whom she loves more than anything, into large beats, and the hero Golem, the son of a white supremacist who, to separate himself from his father, named himself after a character from Jewish mythology.

On top of having characters who feel like real people, and on top of exploring themes which are not often looked at, there are also some really amazing fight scenes. A lot of people likely don’t realize this, but writing out a good fight scene is actually quite difficult, and I’m speaking from experience.

So people, all I have to say is that whether or not you like cape fiction, and whether or not you’re interested in deep philosophical discussions, , I highly recommend that you read Worm, as it has beaten out To Kill a Mockingbird and become my favorite literary work of all time.

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