Monday, June 12, 2017

Over an Embattled City, by Adam R. Shannon

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(Superhero) Teenage Emma remembers when New York City was called “Hyde” and was filled with superheroes and villains, but no one else does. Now there’s just one superhero left, and she desperately needs to talk to him. (5,994 words; Time: 19m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Clever and Satisfying

"Over an Embattled City," by (edited by Tricia Reeks and Kyle Anderson), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: More than anything, Emma needs some validation that she’s not crazy. She gets some from Focus and the rest from Martin Tucker. On her train ride home, she’s finally whole.

We’re happy but not surprised that Emma can’t bring herself to shoot Tucker. Even when he asks if she’s the one who’s been harassing his agent, she can’t help but tell him “probably.” She’s a good girl trying to do the right thing, and we love that about her.

Tucker makes a very strong case that it’s a much better world without superheroes in it. She remembers being rescued by Outsider, but she also remembers the anguished cries of the thousands buried in the rubble of Grand Central Station. This story does not offer simple answers.

One can even reach a bit deeper and argue that story makes the case that people need to solve their own problems and not depend on some “superhero” (of any kind) to do it for them.

Con: The story seems to contradict its own message by ending with Emma herself becoming some sort of superhero, although her power seems to be meaningless if there is no one changing reality around.

Martin’s motives for eliminating himself seem very hard to believe. You’d think he’d want to stay around just in case a new superhero turned up.

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