Oct 18, 2009: I read this in about the worst way you could read a novel, but one that’s pretty common for how I read serials online. The first time I stopped by, I read the first few chapters and enjoyed them, but didn’t continue. The next few times I read the most recent chapters as they posted, but, not having read the middle, I missed some of the context.
Finally, I went back, and read the whole thing in order.
It was worth it.
Zephyr tells the story of a major (if somewhat jaded) superhero in an alternate universe where New York City has been abandoned and the Beatles were a superhero team.
Zephyr himself seems like a regular guy with massive powers, and as you read, it’s easy to wonder if his life might have been better without them. He’s disconnected from his wife, unsure of how to handle his teenage daughter’s problems in school, and while he theoretically works as a freelance journalist, he’s not able to do much with that given the time he’s spending on unpaid superhero work.
He’s more than a little aware that his personal problems have passed his ability to cope with them, but the path through it isn’t obvious.
At the same time, supervillains, malfunctioning robots, and other problems that only superhumans can deal with regularly derail his efforts at handling his life.
All that being said, the story isn’t primarily the story of a middle-aged man dealing with the disappointments of life. That’s in there, but so are the things that you read (or don’t read) superhero comics for in the first place—powers, fights, and mysterious things that will be explained later on.
I like the background of the story—the way superheroes fit into our celebrity obsessed culture, and the way the history of their United States differs from the one in our world.
As for the writing . . . It’s great. The author of the story is apparently a practicing journalist himself and the prose reflects that. The words are well chosen. The fact that it’s told in present tense is barely noticeable and adds a sense of immediacy to the story.
One interesting aspect of the story is that there’s a second character (his sections are labeled "Joseph"). It’s a little confusing at first who Joseph is and where he fits into the story. Actually, even at the end you might still have a few questions about him, but the story does clear up most of what you’ll want to know.
The story is great. I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes superheroes and doesn’t mind a different approach to them.
(Since I first wrote this, the author has changed the website’s presentation of the story. Originally, I had several problems with that. Currently, the website has no glaring problems with navigation.)
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