My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Richard Rogers had a life. Not a perfect life, but it was his. He had a marriage, a job, and even a side career as an up and coming standup comic. Oh, he lives in a world where superheroes and the major cities are being put under domes in order to protect them from threat like a giant robot baby with a gun for a head.
Then one day, he wakes up and finds his life never happened. No one remembers he ever existed, not his wife or his parents. A side effect is that he’s also invisible to most people and, unless no one is looking at him, completely intangible. One of the few people who can see him is Doctor Knowbokov, a genius scientist who recruits Richard to help him save the world. Richard becomes Nobody and becomes part of a trio of heroes. The other two are Knowbokov’s daughters: Rail Blade, who has the almost unlimited ability to control ferrous metals, and The Thrill, who can fly and make people do whatever she tells them. While much of their work involves defeating the plans of Knowbokov’s arch nemesis Rex Monday, Knowbokov has wider plans which include global peace, whether the people want his solution or not.
Of course, not everything is as it seems and Nobody soon finds himself questioning the ethics behind many of Knowbokov’s plans. Soon he realizes that the professor has a deep Machiavellian streak and willingness to use people in disturbing ways.
Written in a light, breezy style, Nobody Gets the Girl nonetheless tackles some pretty heavy issues about the ends justifying the means and whether great power comes with great responsibility. Nobody initially joins Knowbokov’s mission out of a feeling that, his old life forever lost to him, he has little other options in life. But as he learns more about what he’s signs onto, he begins to take more control of his destiny and re-assess his relationship with the people around him, including Knowbokov’s family and the “villain”, Rex Monday.
Most superhero stories tend to be told in a very black and white terms: You have a good guy and a bad guy. Nobody Gets the Girl, however, is painted in various shades of gray and Nobody is often not sure who is the hero and who is the villain. The book packs a number of surprises, not the least of which is the identity of the girl in the title. Recommended for fans of superheroes who are looking for a little ambiguity in their fiction.