By Frank Byrns
Pro Se Press
There are several respected writers in the New Pulp movement who specialize in tales of realistic superheroes. One of the best is writer Frank Byrns as he amply demonstrates in this paperback collection starring his metahuman character, Adonis Morgan.
The five stories here detail the adventures of a man riding the unpredictable rollercoaster that comes with having super strength. Early on we learn that Morgan went the traditional cape and mask route upon attaining his powers but the world being what it is, he gave up that romantic calling fast. He then tries his hand at being a movie stuntman; being impervious to most kind of traumas does have advantages. But when he’s framed for murder by a fellow metahuman with a long-held grudge, even that quickly sours.
Next he’s a nighttime taxi-driver and eventually a bodyguard for a campaigning senator assigned to protect the man’s younger, trophy wife. When she’s kidnapped, Morgan is once again the public patsy.
As you can see, Byrns’ doesn’t offer up any rose-colored views; proving all too often that the fun stuff does indeed only happen in the comic books. A world with real super powered people would, by the mere premise, be a complicated place. One which he deftly portrays with ease. From the first page, we dropped smoothly into this world and could easily empathize with Morgan. Sometimes being a superhero just isn’t all it’s cracked up to me. On the other hand, these stories are original and insightful and offer up a unique look into a little explored sci-fi pulp genre. If you’ve never read superhero prose before, this is the place to start.