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WIP Supervillainy and Other Poor Career Choices by SoggyRedToast - T - Original

Discussion in 'Other Fandoms Review Board' started by Blorcyn, May 17, 2020.

  1. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Minister of Magic DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,275
    Location:
    UK
    Title: Supervillainy and Other Poor Career Choices
    Author: SoggyRedToast
    Rating: Occasional gore. Common Profanity. I don't know.
    Fandom: none - it’s its own fandom I suppose. Original
    Genre: Superhero
    Status: Book 1 of multiseries complete (61 chapters)
    Library Category: General
    Pairings: It's original, do you care?
    Summary:
    When a down on his luck machine shop owner ends up coming into possession of a rundown suit of power-armor, he sees an opportunity to make some quick cash.

    Unfortunately for him, the world of Capes is not one that you may enter and leave at will.

    What should have been a quick sale to pay off his debts quickly grows into an ongoing series of events that serve only to drag him deeper and deeper into the criminal underbelly of the city he calls home...
    -----
    So, by definition, this and the other three I'm putting in for the library, rather than also rec by definition have to be good for me. I'm gonna give them 4/5. However, personally, I think there's a difference between good in original work and good in fanfiction, good original stuff needs a lot more going on behind the scenes, I feel. This turned into a whole tract, but that's the important bit so let's just leave it there.

    Supervillainy and Other Poor Career Choices follows a lad who works in a repair shop and he's really bloody good at it, though that's not immediately apparent. Circumstances have conspired to put him in a place where he doesn't realise the depth of opportunity and wealth that his not-superpowered (that we know of, but I'm starting to get suspicious) abilities can afford him... until a meth-head Artificer comes a-knocking with a poorly constructed mech suit, looking for a loan.

    Plot:

    The story takes off at a decent clip, but it's not quite what I was expecting.

    There's a saying, a correction I think, by the man who said "power corrupts" (or at least someone who followed him) which says "what is seldom said ... is that power always reveals. When a man is climbing, trying to persuade others to give him power, concealment is necessary. ... But as a man obtains more power, camouflage becomes less." Vince Gilligan referenced this once, the idea that as you accumulate power you see what was always underneath - what a person chooses to do once they have no reason not to do anything other than what they want. This was key to him in writing Breaking Bad.

    This is key here. This isn't the story I was expecting at first. Someone being pulled reluctantly, by an external dilemma, seeking a solution to a problem that is compromising them. This is the other thing, he takes to being a cunt like a duck takes to water. It's fair to know that going in.

    This compromises the story at some points. I think he's pretty unrecognisable by the end compared to the start, but as we learn more about who he was, and how he lived, prior to the start of the story, I think it's justified.

    The events follow him from first acquisition of a mech suit, to coming under the power of a local supervillain (and his sexy supervillain daughter [of course]), to trying to strike out on his own. As the scope of his efforts and his villainy expand, he starts to but into the larger world, and book one ends just as we encounter our first major Superhero I think, after building up what looks to be the League of Doom.

    Sometimes, like a lot of web novels, the character is lost in service to action, in service to a bit of edginess, but it never loses pace. It never really slows up for more than a chapter here or there.

    Characters:
    Of all the fics I am posting today, to me, I think this has perhaps the least intrinsically charismatic (excepting the blonde sadist, I suppose) characters, but they are three dimensional and complex, and although your opinion swings (by design) on the main character, you always understand his motivations, and you understand the wants and desires of the others. This isn't a group united in purpose, but at the same time, it's not cartoonish 'fuck-each-other-over' at every turn villainy. They want things, and they're taking reasonable actions to get there. Maybe I read too much worm fanfiction for my superpower itch, but that's refreshing.

    Setting:
    There's a lot of work that's been done here. The story takes place in a city in central/eastern America, but this is an America that's lost Oregon, Washington, and California to what sounds like a Lex Luthor style deal? The world building isn't dumped in, and I think what I really admire about this story is a sense of restraint. It's not so keen to tell you about whatever is going on at the higher level of conflict that it loses sight of the protagonist's street-level goals. The growth is inevitable with what we learn about his history, I'm sure, but it's not unwelcome. It doesn't give stuff away until you want to know it.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  2. Mutton

    Mutton Unspeakable

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Messages:
    792
    I vaguely remember reading this way back when(maybe on SB or something?) and it was a decent page turner. I'll give it a reread
     
  3. Alkaraz

    Alkaraz First Year

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
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    Male
    Location:
    Utah
    So having gotten to chapter 38, it’s pretty alright. The protagonist doesn’t always win, had clear issues both interpersonal and combat wise, and overall is very human. My problem tends to be that while I enjoy the side characters and such, the world, and where the plot seems to be going, the main character is just boring to me. He’s not a bad character by any means, just, well, boring. And that really damages the ability of the story to keep me interested since obviously he’s primary POV. Not bad if you’re looking for a solid time waster, but nothing to marvel at. Given it’s original fiction, 4/5.
     
  4. valrie

    valrie Fourth Year

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Messages:
    111
    I read the first 25ish chapters. It's not bad but my problem with it is that it feels like a Worm rip-off. Just change the names of things a little bit and it's not too far off.

    And the MC is apparently some sort of tech genius that is better at technology than the people with technology-based superpowers. I suspect we'll see later on that he has some sort of Thinker power but that threw me off a little.
     
  5. Jack-O

    Jack-O First Year

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Nothingtown
    I think what's been released so far is actually 2 complete books, so maybe someone should edit the OP.

    First things first, I personally enjoy reading stories with anti-hero/evil main characters, so the MC's personality didn't really put me off. He starts off as a completely self-absorbed socially inept d-bag, and by the end, he's at least a little more aware of the motivations (if not the feelings) of others around him. I like this type of slow burn character development so this is a positive for me.

    Each of the side characters is unique and developed enough that you can understand them well, and their interactions are entertaining to read.

    The setting itself is okay, but it does seem heavily inspired by Worm, down to the slang term for superpowered people being capes. The first book had your standard urban street-level gang warfare, then the setting changes to the lawless wasteland left over from a collapsed villainous empire, complete with a Thunderdome/Death Race elements, which was much more interesting to see.

    However, I didn't really buy that the MC was just such a genius that he could improve on the in-universe Tinkertech, but there is hopefully some explanation for it that has yet to come up.

    4/5 from me, and will be following the next book whenever it comes out.
     
  6. Mutton

    Mutton Unspeakable

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Messages:
    792
    Finished my reread. The second book is just kind of shit? Even if we handwave away him being a super genius yet somehow not super powered it's two entirely different stories stapled together. The character arcs just don't really function and the excuse the writing tries to give is laughable at best.

    I get that the author wanted a breaking bad like situation, but there's just no transition.

    2/5