Welcome to the third installment of the Indie Book Club on N&N! If this is your first time on one of these posts make sure to check out the first and second issue covering the serial novel ‘Wonderboy’ by Charles Martin of Literati Press in Oklahoma.
In the third issue of Wonderboy we follow the Silent Shadow, a superhero who moonlights as a dancer and advisory committee to the president’s cabinet on vigilante affairs. This section leaps forward and backward in time. It was sometimes hard to follow exactly when and where you were as a reader.
By far this was the hardest section of the series to get into and follow. The flashes in time were disorienting. Also the character, Julep, is hearing impaired (they say deaf but she can use implants to hear some). This makes situations filtered through her reality to be very different than other characters as she reads their emotions, surroundings, and lips.
The first chapter covers her dancing and vigilante careers. It was interesting to have a look at the inner workings of criminal justice program in this reality. Because of weakened police force, superheros have to take up the slack. During a patrol she shows her dislike for children but her ability to defend herself as a super even with what others would call a disability.
In fact she uses her impairment to her advantage. Later chapters show her playing dumb, using her ‘disability’ as an ‘ability’ to get out of having to communicate with people that she can’t stand. The walls she builds to keep the people she feels alienated at arm’s distance doesn’t stop her greatest weakness though, children. More than once she is accosted by young people who seem to not be able to stop kissing, hugging, and following her.
Towards the end of the issue she is given the mission to go to Trejaños. This is near the last location Wonderboy was seen at (when he was jumped by a woman). Since the encounter with a group of pirates, the world has been without Wonderboy. Julep, with the aid of a few thousand newly trained soldiers, are sent to the island to return control to Wonderboy’s private organization that controls the United States government.
In transit, Julep gets word that Numbers is missing. As it turns out she has been watching Numbers as a possible candidate for the hero guild. On the military transport they find the boy stowing away and take him into custody. Julep begins trying to take after the boy but the commanding officer forces the two apart.
Once on the island she escapes the COs and tries to protect Numbers. She finds out that his transport would take him to the center of what seems to be a very dangerous situation–as it turns out the island is the last free country from Wonderboy’s control.
In the end, we find out that the island is being controlled by an escaped convicts, pirates, and super villains including Patient 43 from the supermax McAlester Prison.
So this was a lot of information. It came pretty hot and heavy but by the time you get towards the end–O.M.G. –this shizzle just got real. In comparison, Issue 2 seemed almost like filler. So much is building up to the island. Now that we’re there I am a little scared. It’s like mid-season of Monster, no one is safe from here on. The players are assembled and the everything is up in the air.
What do you think? Do you think Julep’s hearing was well represented? Do you think her character is realistic or human?
To me, Julep is becoming the central character (if that is possible in this story). From my experience with my own disability in the same vein(is) as hers I can really identify with wanting walls between you and people. Also, I’m not a big fan of most kids like her but I am a total softy and give in to playing with them (and I swear they can smell fear).
I like seeing how the world works. Getting a feel for just how desperate they are to keep the island quiet. They are talking about leveling the whole place with some ‘package’ which could be nukes or worse. The world may be safer but it seems to be no less dangerous.
Comment what you think and we’ll be back soon with issue 4!