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It's 2013 and West Pacific Supers is the professional superhero team for the city of West Pacific in northern California. It's hard to know what's more dangerous for the members of West Pacific Supers: the supervillains out to destroy the city or the superazzi determined to uncover all of their dirty secrets. If juggling heroics and public relations weren't hard enough, the 2013 Season begins with a shocking death. Now new team members must be recruited to counter two major threats: a scientist with an insane plan that threatens California and an enemy from within West Pacific Supers itself. The team will succeed only after taming their massive egos and getting help from unlikely sources. Unfortunately, just like winning fame and fortune, beating the bad guys always comes at a heavy price.
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The West Pacific Supers of the title are a team of professional superheroes. They have stage names like Cosmic Kid, Blue Star and White Knight, they have superhero costumes and, at times, some terribly corny lines.All of that may sound like something of a farce, but it works surprisingly well. This is an X-Men style version of 2013, where some humans are born mutants with peculiar, powerful abilities. They¿re unusual, but not that rare: there are several teams of superheroes that operate like top sports teams, with sponsorships and top celebrity status. It¿s amusing, and largely believable; it¿s not hard to imagine that mutant superhero status would go that way, if such a thing existed.Of course, for every superhero there¿s a supervillain and a corresponding supercrime-in-the-making. The West Pacific Supers are having a difficult year: disaster after disaster leaves them short on team members and up against impressive odds. Can they work past their differences to save the day?I think this scenario works because it¿s possible to see the Supers as real people, not just costumes. There¿s a great deal about their personal lives in this long book, probably too much ¿ it threatens to drown the main action after a while. But I didn¿t mind, because the authors avoided sinking into melodrama, and the Supers don¿t take themselves too seriously for the most part. The story reads like the chronicles of the team over one Season, covering their interpersonal issues (of which there are quite a lot) as well as their supercharged action-filled crime-fighting escapades.The villains were interesting too. I suppose there are superscientists to go with all the rest of the superness, and they¿re up to no good. I liked Dr B the best; he seemed so oddly oblivious to most of what was happening, thoroughly deluded about his own role in any of it, and yet believably brilliant as a borderline genius scientist. It seems he may reappear in the next book, which makes me happy.The book is very light-hearted in some respects ¿ you can¿t have all your characters walking about in superhero suits and write a perfectly serious book ¿ but it isn¿t a farce. The characters are strong, but not immortal, and the dangers are very real. The teams frequently lose members and West Pacific is no different; not all of them will make it to the end. The losses are affecting, but the balance between pain and humour is good.Overall, not a perfect book but really enjoyable. I¿m definitely game for the sequel.