Captain Freedom: A Superhero's Quest for Truth, Justice, and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves

Overview

Freedom's fifteen minutes are over!

Software pirates! Mostly extinct dinosaurs! Giant barbarians! Crooning criminals! Captain Freedom's beat them all, saved the world, and looked fantastic doing it—but he couldn't fend off middle management.

The Superhero lifestyle is all that Captain Freedom has ever known. What's he supposed to do now? Enter politics? Write a children's book?

Freedom's in a bad way and ...

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Captain Freedom

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Overview

Freedom's fifteen minutes are over!

Software pirates! Mostly extinct dinosaurs! Giant barbarians! Crooning criminals! Captain Freedom's beat them all, saved the world, and looked fantastic doing it—but he couldn't fend off middle management.

The Superhero lifestyle is all that Captain Freedom has ever known. What's he supposed to do now? Enter politics? Write a children's book?

Freedom's in a bad way and he's only a stint in rehab away from a lifetime of celebrity reality shows. But with the guidance of his new life coach, maybe Freedom can stumble in a new direction—even if it means having to make peace with his parents . . . or finally commit to a single long-term archenemy.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Most superheroes are content to bask modestly in the sun, confident that they will receive their just acclaim. For the deeply neurotic Captain Freedom, however, things are more complicated. With declining comic book sales already signaling his gradual eclipse, he accelerates the process with a drunken rampage at a major superhero awards dinner. To reconstruct his life, not to mention his flagging spirit, he consults a life coach and begins examining where he went wrong. One of the most hilarious SF satires in years.
Christopher Moore
"Captain Freedom is a truly funny and energetic romp of a social satire, a terrific send up of not only of super heroes, but the cult of personality in general."
-Christopher Moore
“Captain Freedom is a truly funny and energetic romp of a social satire, a terrific send up of not only of super heroes, but the cult of personality in general.”
Publishers Weekly

What do you get when you give a metrosexual superhero a sidekick, an identity crisis and the ability to predict the weather? The answer: Captain Freedom, the lovable hero of Robillard's debut novel. Once a popular superhero, Freedom's celebrity is on the wane, and instead of going quietly into retirement, he goes in search of his origin. Along the way, Freedom visits with a life coach, tries to find his lost father and writes his memoirs. He also laments his lack of a completing other half: an arch-nemesis. Causing trouble for Freedom, meanwhile, is the sniveling journalist/would-be superhero Skip Goodwin, whose antagonistic history dates back to the superhero school he and Freedom attended. Although Freedom manages to maintain a successful career into retirement and stay in the public eye, he also has a lot to learn about personal relationships. Robillard keeps the satire fast and furious, with laugh-out-loud moments competing with strangely insightful quips. It's funny and smart, and even readers who've long given up comic books will enjoy the ride. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
In humorist Robillard's entertaining debut, a floundering superhero works at staying famous. Captain Freedom (nee Tzadik Friedman) can't catch a break. He's used his powers-flying, super strength and reflexes and genius at forecasting weather-for good. But after saving the world again, he's cut loose by Gotham Comix's management and reduced to freelancing. His strategy: a comeback memoir. So we follow Tzadik back to his beginnings as lowly sidekick Liberty Bill. After his boss, Chief Justice, succumbs to his archnemesis Loofah, Captain Freedom is born. We watch him save the world several times, once by renting a time machine and, in 1973 Burbank, destroying the world supply of Erik Estrada Pez dispensers, thus keeping a supervillain from amassing the wealth that makes him formidable. Captain Freedom thwarts a spot of evil on Mars, does battle during Fashion Week with diabolical supermodels and sets the record for thwarting bank robberies (not counting credit unions). He shepherds a movie about himself through production and spins off lucrative products (this fashionista's couture line is a smash). His every exploit is shot by paparazzi and recorded in Us Weekly. But at his career's pinnacle he's denied the International Justice Prize, and the binge that follows lands him in rehab. As Captain Freedom mounts his comeback, there are fleeting subplots involving a breakup with his assassin girlfriend; a trip to Area 51 to reconnect with his father; and some online trolling for the archenemy who might save his franchise. Dizzy, scattershot fun-a gleeful romp through American pop culture.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061650680
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/3/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,487,558
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

G. Xavier Robillard writes for several humor sites, including McSweeney's Internet Tendency and Comedy Central. He lives in Boston. Captain Freedom is his first novel.

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Read an Excerpt

Captain Freedom
A Superhero's Quest for Truth, Justice, and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves

Chapter One

The Beginning of the End

Whoosh! The forty-foot-long scimitar slices through the sky, aimed straight at me. It's a near miss, but the sudden partition of air created by the weapon produces gale-force winds. The air column pushes me backward several hundred yards, enough so I can size up my dreaded opponent. Genghis Kong, the giant Barbarian, has escaped from his unusually large prison off the coast, its powerful electromagnetic fencing disrupted by offshore oil exploration, and he's back in Los Angeles for a weekend of rest, relaxation, and wanton destruction. I fly back up into his face.

"Your furlough ends now," I shout at him. Genghis came looking for freedom, but Freedom found him.

I'm sure he can barely hear me. The sound of rotors from military choppers is deafening. Not sure what they think they can do, and the Pentagon's highly touted Barbarian Defense Shield has been a total failure.

Genghis was part of the Monsanto giant laborer breeding program. The agriculture company had created an entire line of genetically altered superfoods, like twenty-foot rutabagas. Realizing they hadn't thought of a way to harvest the humongous produce, the company quickly bred giant farm workers to do the job. Unfortunately, the giants proved harder to control than the average migrant worker and escaped out into the world, seeking better-paying jobs and, in some instances, a life of crime.

My cell phone vibrates in a hidden panel in my costume. It's nice to have, a great convenience, but I can imagine my mentorChief Justice looking down from his Secret Headquarters in the sky and frowning. The man had no use for nondestructive technology. The Chief didn't even own an answering machine.

I hover in midair. Holding still above Earth takes quite a bit of concentration—it's somewhere between treading water and doing Kegel exercises. I hope it's my sidekick calling. He hasn't been taking my calls lately. I don't recognize the number on the screen, but he's always losing his phone.

"Hello?"

"Uh, Mr. Freedom?"

"That's Captain," I correct, and know right away it's a telemarketer.

"The New York Bank of the Americas has a great credit card offer."

I have no time for this. "What's the APR? Annual fee? Do you have any way to capture a rampaging Barbarian?"

"Uh, I'll have to check with my supervisor. Can you hold?"

There is no way that Genghis is acting alone. He's a Barbarian, and though I consider myself a tolerant person and have several Barbarian American friends, they generally aren't the smartest group. And they stink. I'm relieved he didn't bring his giant horse.

"Sir, we don't have anything specifically for Barbarians, but we do offer a concierge service and I'm sure they could help you with that sort of thing."

"Great. Sign me up." I answer all the required questions impatiently but, I hope, without being rude. By the end of the day I should have a new DisasterCard—My Strife, My Card.

I click off the phone, fly as fast as I can, and smack Genghis in the back. He ignores me and turns toward downtown L.A.

But who—or what—controls him?

Whoever it is must be close by, but we're on an isolated patch of ruined freeway. It's just me, him, and the helicopters. Then I see it. One of the choppers has a different insignia, not Army or LAPD or Eyewitness News 7. The markings belong to that French triumvirate of terror, Les Misérables, and I'll bet anything that the Villain inside is Enfant Terrible.

Terrible's supposed to be in jail serving out a long sentence for importing raw-milk cheese. Supervillains always get out. Sometimes a spectacular escape is involved, but they usually get released because of budget cuts.

My day is already in a shambles, and I am angry.

My career's entered an irrevocable tailspin. There's an important dinner party that I'm going to miss. My girlfriend isn't speaking to me. I'm in no mood for Enfant's merde.

I fly up and rip open the helicopter door and step inside. "Thought you needed a breeze in here."

The pilot looks confused and then taps on his helmet. He can't hear me. I grab a spare headset and repeat myself.

"Captain Freedom," crackles the snide, nasal voice of Enfant Terrible over the headset. "The Barbarian is on a collision course with your beloved city. Think you can stop him? Or maybe you should warn the citizens first. Oh, the dilemma!" He laughs a French laugh.

I fly away to face Genghis, and he pulls out another weapon. It's light blue and looks something like a mace. His arm flits down toward me, and I change direction quickly. So does he.

We continue our deadly dance. I'm trying to figure out what he's holding. The sword was better. Where would you get a forty-foot sword sharpened, anyway?

The weapon comes down on me. The uniform distribution of pores tells me what it is: a giant flyswatter. He's got me on the ground, pinned.

I can't focus. Too many other things on my mind. There's been a little trouble at work. I've made some mistakes, but what can I say—I'm only human (partly). I need to get back to my party and fix things. If I don't get out of here, my soufflé will be ruined. But that's no reason to fight like an amateur.

The implement presses down on me. I feel at least one rib crack.

Nobody breaks my bones and gets away with it. The enormous Barbarian might be strong, but I'm stronger. I push with all my strength, breathing into the pain, and the flyswatter is off.

Now that I'm free, I blast into the sky with a plan. The Misérables helicopter hovers nearby. Probably needs to be close by to control Genghis. After I catch the rotor in my hands, I rip it off and then grab the chopper by the skids. Heavier than I thought.

Captain Freedom
A Superhero's Quest for Truth, Justice, and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves
. Copyright © by G. Robillard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Real superheroes

    It's an amazing story that brings humanity to superheroes, and shows us what our cape crusadors would truly be like, kinda like watchmen, while using satire to keep it comical, unlike Watchmen. I truly recommend it to Watchmen fans who want to laugh, or people in general who love a great satire.

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    Posted April 28, 2009

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