Review of Michael Ivan Lowell’s “The Suns of Liberty: Revolution”
The Suns of Liberty: Revolution is a superhero fable that takes place in an alternate time stream where the Great Recession has turned into a new Great Depression. As a result, power has been handed over to the most potent remaining corporations to run the country. Dubbed the “Freedom Council” they control things while the government remains in control in name only.
Rising up in the aftermath of this transition in power is a superhero dubbed “The Revolution” who is an armored warrior willing to fight to stop the tyranny of this new form of despotic government. Others rise as well; copy-cats who want to be heroes who fight crime and give the people hope. Some have legitimate talents, like Paul Ward, who has crafted an armored flight suit and can fire darts that knock his enemies out, while others are less impressive. Some, like Lithium, are state sanctioned and fight crimes that are set-ups made for the TV audience-they support the new government and while they have real superpowers, they are more-or-less at war with The Revolution and those who would oppose this new form of government.
The main character of this tale, for all intents and purposes, is Paul, who has been dubbed the “Spider Wasp” after a confrontation with a gang of bank robbers. He is seeking revenge for the death of his son at the hands of thugs, which also caused his wife to commit suicide. He is a doctor and a former Harvard Professor who is fascinated with The Revolution and the mythology surrounding the rebellious hero. This tale follows Paul’s experiences with The Revolution and the group of underground heroes that work with him fomenting a new American Revolution.
Michael Ivan Lowell has written an intriguing tale of new superheroes for a world where corporate power has gotten out of control-with a shimmer of our reality mirrored on its pages. Taking place mainly in Boston, the reflections of the original Revolutionary War are easily recognized within the story. The author has crafted a set of heroes that mostly utilize technology rather than having any innate superpowers, except in one particular case. In some ways, this story reminds me Watchmen with its alternate history (though this takes place in the near future rather than in the near past). Superheroes that aren’t quite immaculate in how they operate and how they function-while they may wish to do well, they are far from perfect.
The story is fun and the creation of a set of heroes is creative-while there are similarities to other superheroes the reader already know and recognize, they do have their own unique flavor and take on things, especially in a world where the United States has essentially turned into a dictatorship. It is easy to see where this saga could carry forward with several additional volumes by the author. It will be interesting to see what new characters (both good and evil) he can craft to carry the story forward beyond this tome.
As I always attempt to do, I try to point out any issues or concerns I had with a book, and with The Suns of Liberty: Revolution it came down to the fact that the author spends much of the book telling the reader things rather than showing them. The history of many of the characters is revealed not through interactions with them, but by a synopsis of their past and their personality type. This is a bit distracting-I tend to prefer characters being revealed by inches and often not knowing everything about them right away. I realize that with a book that has this many complex characters it would be difficult to really dig deep without the book being twice as long, but as mysterious a character as The Revolution is, the rest of the cast was much more of an open book. Again, it is clear with a book such as this, it is often hard to let the characters do a slow reveal-especially those destined to become superheroes or villains-unless it is an origin story. Instead, we are introduced to what amounts to The Justice League or Avengers in full swing here, so it’s not surprising that a few liberties with the story telling style were taken to get the reader up to speed.
The Suns of Liberty: Revolution provides a solid new world filled with darkness and a new hope for the downtrodden, and was a fun read. It will be interesting to see where the author takes this tale in future volumes.
The Suns of Liberty: Revolution can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C0HB7DK/ref=cm_cr_thx_view