Geeks, Girls and Secret Identities
Written by Mike Jung
Illustrated by Mike Maihack
Welcome to Copperplate City, a world where superheroes are in every city and an alert system sends out city-wide texts when their local hero, Captain Stupendous, is on the job.Vincent Wu and his friends have organized the only serious Captain Stupendous fan club in town. They have, like, an archive of material on him and all the other fan clubs are lame. So they know something is wrong when Captain Stupendous is tricked by the latest super villain, Professor Mayhem and his indestructible robot.
In the opening confrontation, Polly is kidnapped, a girl Vincent has a crush on. After she is rescued by Captain Stupendous, strange things begin to happen. For instance, Polly actually pays attention to Vincent and his group, Captain Stupendous runs from Professor Mayhem’s robot and says un-Stupendous-like things when Vincent needs rescuing. That is because Captain Stupendous’s real identity is Polly. She became the superhero after the real Captain Stupendous (whose secret identity was really her favorite teacher) had a heart attack and died. He passed his power to her after he rescued her. Polly doesn’t know how to be the superhero and isn’t even sure she wants to be, but she turns to Vincent and his fan club to help her train. Can she learn enough in time to save the world? Can the fan club keep Polly’s secret? Can Vincent find out why Professor Mayhem is targeting his family? Thanks to the friendship of Vincent’s fan club and their newest member, they manage to save the day.
Friends rule in this fun alternative world where anything can happen. Very appealing to upper elementary readers and would be a good choice for cross-grade-level reading activities such as read aloud buddies. Because of the snappy dialogue, it could be a reader’s theatre production with grades below fourth as the intended audience. Alert: excessive use of the words “dude” and “suck”, but will delight fourth graders and annoy adults. Black and white illustrations have an anime feel. There is a video on the author’s website that is just as wacky as the book he wrote: (http://captainstupendous.wordpress.com/)
Author Mike Jung left the ending open for more books and they will be welcome.