After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
Can an accountant defeat a supervillain? Celia West, only daughter of the heroic leaders of the superpowered Olympiad, has spent the past few years estranged from her parents and their high-powered lifestyle. She’s had enough of masks and heroics, and wants only to live her own quiet life out from under the shadow of West Plaza and her rich and famous parents.
Then she is called into her boss’ office and told that as the city’s top forensic accountant, Celia is the best chance the prosecution has to catch notorious supervillain the Destructor for tax fraud. In the course of the trial, Celia’s troubled past comes to light and family secrets are revealed as the rift between Celia and her parents grows deeper. Cut off from friends and family, Celia must come to terms with the fact that she might just be Commerce City’s only hope.
This all-new and moving story of love, family, and sacrifice is an homage to Golden Age comics that no fan will want to miss.
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I had a completed version of this post that got eaten by a computer crash. I’ve tried to recreate it but my enthusiasm is a little lower this time around…
I was very excited when I saw this book at the library the other day. I’d been hoping that the library would get it and there it was. Early Christmas present for me! I’ve loved a good superhero story, ever since I was a kid, and with the resurgence of superheroes in the multiplexes and the more mainstream acceptance of superhero tales as being not just for kids, it’s easier than ever to get my hands on them. But they’re definitely not all good. Take Green Lantern, for example. I love me some Ryan Reynolds but that movie wasn’t satisfying at all. Thankfully, for every Green Lantern, we have a Thor or The Incredibles, so there are always good stories available. After the Golden Age, blessedly, falls into the latter category. It’s a good story. At times, it’s great. Other times, though they are rare, I found myself questioning the rationale behind some of the story’s plot pieces. All in all, though, I really enjoyed this book.
Written by Carrie Vaughn, author of the Kitty Norville series, After the Golden Age pays delightful homage to classic superhero tales. Even the title is an homage! In Commerce City, superheroes like the Olympiad are rogue, operating in a city whose police force tolerates their presence. (Batman! Justice League!) Celia, the powerless daughter of two superheroes, has grown up in this world and, because her parents’ secret identities were revealed, is the victim of repeated kidnappings by criminals who want the attention of her parents (Megamind — sort of, since Roxanne isn’t related to Metro Man). Like Roxanne, Celia is old hat at being kidnapped and takes it with a stoic attitude. There are also obvious parallels between the Olympiad and any number of superhero teams (the Justice League, the X-men, the Avengers, etc.). I can also see some similarities between Celia’s life and the first volumes of Runaways, though those kids have gifts of their own.
Overall, I enjoyed After the Golden Age. Celia is a sympathetic lead character and you really feel for her. She’s trying to lead a normal life but her family and their history with the Descructor keep getting in the way. But Celia’s determined to stick to her guns and lead the life she wants, which is admirable. I also liked that she offered a different perspective on the superhero story and that the cadre of heroes who inhabit Commerce City are similar to comic characters but not carbon copies. There were a couple things I didn’t love towards the end of the novel but it’s generally a satisfying read. I would recommend it to anyone who ever dreamed of wearing a cape (at least until they saw Edna’s cape rant in The Incredibles).