It’s no secret. Everybody knows who’s on top of the superhero A-list. There’s Superman, Batman and Captain America, and all the Avengers and everyone on the Justice League roster. When Darkseid and Thanos come to town, these are the heroes who dutifully show up for work.
The B-list includes all the trusty sidekicks who assist the superheroes—people like Lois Lane, Robin and Bucky Barnes. And since B-listers need a little help too, there’s a C-list as well. Lois Lane always has Jimmy Olsen in her clutch after all.
At the bottom of the heap are the lowly D-listers. These backup superheroes handle the muggings, heists and regular criminal activity the police can’t respond to in time. They are the faceless heroes who do all the grunt work without getting any of the credit.
Author Kayla Hicks introduces two of these D-listers in the debut of her Backup Superhero series. Dwighter is an A-list wannabe with a drinking problem. Questions arise when he unexpectedly graduates to the upper ranks of the cliquey Superhero League. It’s up to his friend Tanser Girl to solve the escalating mystery.
With a little bit of help, Tanser Girl uncovers a messy plot involving international espionage, the FBI, the vaunted Superhero League and a giant shark (for fun). To complicate matters further, the mystery also includes a duplicitous A-lister.
Goffman is arguably the most popular superhero in the entire League. He holds the record for the most criminal apprehensions and is a PR charmer. He’s proof that absolute power corrupts absolutely. In a way, he’s like a pint-sized Homelander (The Boys) and Ozymandias (Watchmen).
The Backup Superhero is a rather short effort (only 66 pages), but it contains enough subterfuge and superhero angst to warrant a handful of sequels. It seems reasonable to expect more knotty entanglements and shady alliances in future volumes.
The key to solving the mystery, of course, is Tanser Girl, a character who freely admits that she’s just a superhero footnote. Like Kathy Griffin, she’s been trying to get on the A-list her whole career. But now, if she can expose systemic fraud within the Superhero League, she might gain the respect she deserves. It’s time for her to get off the D-list.
[The Backup Superhero / By Kayla Hicks / First Printing: March 2021 / ISBN: 9798711535157]