Review: Hero - Perry Moore

Hero by Perry Moore

Hero is the coming out story of a young superhero. Thom Creed's mother has left many years before, unable to help her son deal with the super-powers he has inherited from her. His father exists alone under a cloud of depression, due to a gross-oversimplification of his last day on the job as a (powerless) superhero. No one else is there to help Thom with anything, let alone his acceptance and experimentation with being gay. When Thom tries out for the junior league of superheroes and gets in (all on the sly) he begins training for a life fighting crime, even as the biggest super-villain in decades begins murdering some of the most revered names in the League. Almost seems like being gay isn't that big a deal, huh, Thom?

Hero has the same setting feel of a grittier Gotham, as of the 90s. We've also begun to explore how ones lives next to a society that lives in a world with super-heros and super-villains. Once again we are asking if the good guys are actually better than the villains that they fight and the vigilantes they disdain? There is the added bonus of adding another layer of celebrity for the reality TV audience to relish, more press conferences and fan clubs and--well--porn sites. If I were asked to write a blurb for Hero, I would call it Alex Woolfson's The Young Protectors meets 2010's Kick-Ass.

This book certainly isn't new to me, but after discovering Micheael Urie does the narrator on this one--and it's fair job with absolutely everyone--I finally recognized all the hype. Stan Lee not only wrote the forward for the novel, but narrates his foreward in the audiobook as well. If you're looking to read Brent Hartinger's book, soon-to-be-movie, Geography Club, or David Leviathan's Boy Meets Boy, the recommendation that usually follows shortly after that, is Hero.

Michael Urie surprised me. I like him as an actor, and his range in doing voices was incredible. While unasked to complete the challenge of a 4-year-old girl, he did have to do a teenage girl, a chain smoking old woman, and an Eastern European accent. He sold me on the books weaknesses, and focusing on someone else reading really seems to take away the most critical parts of one's mind; it's usually not until the tape has run out that one thinks to oneself, wait a minute...

In 2007, Perry Moore debuted his wry teen-superhero novel Hero with much success. There was enthusiastic talk on Stan Lee's part to bring Thom Creed to a screen near you! Perry Moore was acquainted with Hollywood already, having been a producer for the Chronicles of Narnia, and things looked good. But in 2011, Perry Moore died. While it hasn't been featured of late, this book still sits well amongst the new books and movies that have and are still coming out. On the other hand  Luckily for us, Thom's coming out has set some very interesting events in motion...

And it really is good, even while ungraceful at times. Thom is outed in stages to everyone throughout the book, while his father gets the slowest burning reveal I've read in a while. In the beginning his father pretends he hasn't head a gay slur casually used in reference to his son, quickly followed by an anecdote explaining how horrible it would be to be gay in that household. This of course is almost completely reversed, in a character developmental move I'm not sure is actually realistic.

 As in most superhero stories, the characters who are supposed to have secret identities are quick to be figured out, but their interactions are all good. Thom is sometimes falling behind the reader in thinking, and his father was hypocritical, making leaps of understanding with minimal development. If anything struck me as strange, I tried to remind myself what it would have looked like in a comic book, and often any disbelief would vanish. No matter when it shifts gear, what plot twists are thrown in, and who kisses whom, Hero read well and with much entertainment value. But I warn you that it is gorey. It's tender moments are like emotional whiplash between details of injuries and deaths and... ultimate mayhem. Enjoy.

Pages: 428
Year: 2007
Publisher: Hyperion Books

Read: 2013
Stars: 4 (really liked it)