Monday, May 14, 2012

Book Review: Corrupts Absolutely?

Corrupts Absolutely?

Edited By:  Lincoln Crisler

Publisher:  Damnation Books

Publish Date:  March 2012

Format:  eARC

Genre:  Fantasy, Dark Superhero Fantasy

Series:  Stand Alone, Anthology

Recommendation:  If you are looking for superhero short reads, yes.  But keep in mind these are not always the cut and dry 'hero' you might be looking for.

Book Synopsis:

The only family member to survive the 9/11 attacks.  A sidekick-turned-construction-worker.  The teenager products of an institute for unwanted meta human children.  The man who can make anyone do anything.  Are they heroes?  Are they villains?  Sometimes they're both.  Ofter, even at the same time.

Corrupts Absolutely? collects twenty brand-new stories from veteran authors and newcomers, each with a unique perspective on what it might really be like to be superhuman in today's day and age.  In the center of such a rolling mass of uncertainty and excitement lies one important truth: the fight against good or evil is never as important as the fight for or against oneself.

Titles, Authors, and Pages:
Introduction  by Lincoln Crisler, 2pgs
Retribution  by Tim Marquitz, 7pgs
Hollywood Villainy  by Weston Ochse, 13pgs
Mental Man  by William Todd Rose, 11pgs
The Real Church  by Jeremy Hepler, 13pgs
Ozymandias Revisited  by A.S. Fox, 9pgs
Enlightened by Sin  by Jason M. Tucker, 13pgs
The Origin of Slashy  by Jeff Strand, 9pgs
Conviction  by Edward M. Erdelac, 10pgs
Threshold  by Kris Ashton, 9pgs
Oily  by A.D. Spencer, 9pgs
Hero  by Joe McKinney, 6pgs
Pride  by Wayne Ligon, 9pgs
G-Child  by Malon Edwards, 9pgs
Static  by Jason Gehlert, 11pgs
Illusion  by Karina Fabian, 8pgs
Sabre  by Anthony Laffan, 8pgs
Crooked  by Lee Mather, 13pgs
Fixed  by Trisha J. Wooldridge, 16pgs
Acquainted with the Night  by Cat Rambo, 6pgs
Gone Rogue  by Wayne Helge, 9pgs
Max and Rose  by Andrew Bourelle, 11pgs

My Review and Summary:
Since there are so many stories in this one, I'm going to try to keep it short and mention only a few.  I did however, write a small thought on each in my notes.  So if you are curious about any stories on the list I don't mention here, just ask..

This is not your traditional 'superhero' thinking.  These characters are heroes, are not heroes but potentially villains, and are in the grey area where some would think they are heroes and some would think villains.  The views are yours for the deciding.

The Introduction raises questions on the use of the term superhero, and the affect on people.  The question is raised of how would people react with common things in life if "we" became a superhero.  Would you marry the same person?  Work the same job?  These are some of the thoughts in a few of the stories.

Retribution is a hard story to start with.  It could very well hit close to home in an Americans heart, for several.  A man losses his wife and child-to-be September 11, 2011, and a part of himself as well.  He sighed up to go over seas to make those responsible for his families death pay.  His rage is explosive and full of vengeful hate.  This is a heart breaking tale, for both sides of the war to me as well.  His story is one that many could think he is a villain, but also a wounded man in grieving as well.

Mental Man is a mystery type take.  We learn why Rob is in the position he is working, and that he doesn't have an archenemy to keep him feeling balanced and with a life purpose.  Rob helps the police look for a murderer, but I wonder who the true murderer is....  I loved the metaphor of his feelings and the mental villain of diseases (Mental diseases.)  The way this story turns around by the end in just a few short pages, had me hooked.

I really liked Enlightened by Sin.  Victor hears the encrypted threat from Red Dahlia from his favorite DJ while he's cleaning up after his latest bad guy eliminating.  Red Dahlia is dangerous and known for many deaths in a world where "Heroes" are sponsored.  Victor is not sponsored, and is doing the dirty work of cleaning up the streets where others are not.  Victor goes to talk to a victim of Red Dahlia's that 1) didn't fit the profile like the other victims, and 2) lived.  This man has secrets to tell.  I liked that Victor starts as seeming like a villain for the way he works, but in reality he's not, and I wonder about the "Heroes" in this world as well.  I kind of got the reversed feel of Heroes and Villains rule here.

Threshold is a favorite of mine as well, for the twisted ending.  We have a man who learns at twenty when he touches someone he will learn great details of harm they have done and if they need to die for it.  A symptom of his ability, severe headaches.  Uncontrollable pain until he does what needs to be done, and becomes the assassin, to eliminate the horrible people that shouldn't be here.  I really liked this writing style, and the storyline with this man and his headaches pushing him to do what he needs to do.

Hero was neat to see how others react with knowledge a 'hero' has and shares.  Robert Hanover is with Dr. Lange, his therapist in the hospital.  Robert believes he has the power to see exactly seven minutes and twenty-two seconds into the future, but he is self absorbed.  When Robert shares something about a beautiful receptionist at the hospital, with the Doctor exploit what he learns?

Pride was a neat read to see how far down can you push someone before the try to turn around, and it might come back on you.  Carmichael works in construction now, after he took the fall for his mentor and lost his chance to be a superhero.  But things on this job go bad, and Carmichael holds back as long as he can to save others.  But when there is to much invested into this project and someone has to go down with the building, a sacrifice that will deface that person and save the face and money of another, who will fall?

Sabre was one I really enjoyed as well.  A hero fights the villain, Anti-Matter, in her specialized suit, but when she returns to her office she gets a visitor who suspects her as the "hero" for the suit has abilities in the area her business has worked and created, along with others.   This short story starts off fast and strong with fighting, and demonstrates this wonderful suit.  I like how this "hero" helps yet makes out for the good.  She walks a very gray line type feel to me.  I like that idea.

Crooked, Oh!  This was one of my favorites.  Leon uses his telekinetic power to help cover his tracks in the snow.  He goes to rob his ex, just to find someones taken her captive because of him, wanting what he took from them some time ago.  A crime boss is hot on Leon's trail, or is Leon the one on their trail.  I really liked the way this story twisted together and came to an unforeseen end.

Gone Rogue is a neat tale to see how two heroes can turn to archenemies when one lets his sidekick do all the work and then when things go wrong, shows up to turn on him.  This was a tale that really made me think sometimes the "villain" isn't always the bad guy.

Overall, this book really got me to thinking about who really is a "Hero" and a "Villain" and where is the line drawn.  It all depends on the side you see, sometimes.  The Heroes here could be borderline Villains.  Or Villains, borderline heroes.  A feeling of Dark Superheroes, nothing is black and white and they live in the grey making the tough decisions and trying to cope with the strange abilities within them in a world dominated without it.

I received a copy of this ebook for review from one of the authors.
Please keep in mind, this is my personal thoughts and opinions.


  1. Oh I like a story which messes with your perception on who is good and who is evil. This one sounds right up my alley!

    Oh and I'm going to start calling you the anthology queen! ;D

    1. Melissa (Books&things) - It was a neat take with the potential villain side. And thank you! I do love my Anthologies. lol!!

  2. you're right a lot of stories in this one. it sounds interesting to have some about potentially villains, it doesn't happen a lot.

    1. Melliane, it was very different reading this with the grey feeling of hero/villain. I kind of liked it. Thank you.


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