By Ian Thomas Healy
Local Hero Press LLC
For the past three years, Colorado based writer Ian Thomas Healy has been writing some of the most entertaining superhero fiction on the market today. This subgenre of fantasy adventure is about bringing spandex wearing comicbook characters to the world of prose fiction. It is a growing field in literature today with a half-dozen notable New Pulp writers thriving in it; names like Van Plexico, Lee Houston Jr. and Nick Ahlhelm spring immediately to mind. Considering the amount of world-building that went into this novel, we’re amazed this book (series) doesn’t have a much larger following. It deserves to.
“Just Cause,” billed as the first in the series, actually begins in the middle of the saga, in 2012, when Salena Thompson joins the premier superhero team, Just Cause, as their newest intern after having graduated from the renowned Hero Academy. A third generation speedster, she calls herself Mustang Sally and is overwhelmed by how fast her life is moving, much like her own super-speed abilities. Both Sally’s mother, Faith, and grandmother, possessed similar powers and fought with previous teams dating back to World War II when metahumans first appeared.
Mustang Sally, as the protagonist, is our entry into this amazing world, and through her eyes we discover the rich and complex history of superheroes, and their villainous counterparts. Sally’s father was killed weeks before she was born by a twisted scientific genius known as the Destroyer who continues to be Just Cause’s greatest adversary. Sally’s secret wish is to find him and have her revenge. But before she can do that, she must prove herself to the Just Cause which is led by the brilliant, but conservative Juice, whose powers to produce electric charges make him a formidable warrior.
Along the way Sally makes close friends with a Sondra Eagle, the winged Native American known as Desert Eagle and falls madly in love with Jason, the super strong young rock musician called Mastiff. All the while getting to know the other members of the team and learning to adjust to her new role as an adult superhero. Thus the book is really a coming-of-age tale decked out in a flashy superhero garment and it is to Healy’s credit as a writer, that his characterization of Sally and the others is as skillful as his ability to convey action sequences. For in the end, if we don’t believe Salena, the naïve, eager, loyal and courageous young woman then there is no empathizing with Mustang Sally.
“Just Cause” is a pure delight from cover to cover. This edition is a heavily revised and expanded version. It is a most welcomed addition to our library and we recommend it highly. If you grew up with your nose buried in Marvel and DC comics, as we did, then you are going to love “Just Cause.” And as Mr. Stan Lee would say, “Nuff said.”