Have you ever wondered how to become a supervillain? Jim Bernheimer might be a few steps ahead of you: his new novel, “Origins of a D-List Supervillain,” is a unique and hilarious tale of a budding supervillain.
The main character, Cal Stringel, is a talented engineer who gets blacklisted from the high-tech industry when he tries to switch jobs. His boss, who moonlights as Ultraweapon (think Tony Stark, only more arrogant) in his state-of-the-art powersuit, makes sure Cal’s future is ruined. What’s a guy to do? Become a supervillain, of course!
And so begins one of the most entertaining supervillain stories I’ve ever read. The protagonist, who was based on Randall from Clerks, is in it for all the usual reasons: make some money, get some revenge, make a name for himself. He take the reader along on his journey from a small-timer newbie criminal (robbing jewelry stores in his homemade armor), to a supplier for more successful villains, to finally becoming a bona fide villain himself, all the while plotting vengeance against his former boss.
Along the way, he gets in every sort of trouble you can imagine (and some that you can’t), ends up in quite a few brawls with superheroes (which Bernheimer describes in great, amazing detail), makes some villain friends, meets the girl of his dreams and, of course, engages in random acts of villainy.
This book is the prequel to the bestselling “Confessions of a D-List Supervillain,” which starts exactly where “Origins” ends. The two books blend together perfectly – if you’ve never read either of them, I highly recommend starting with “Origins” and moving on to “Confessions,” which has even more superpowered shenanigans and misadventures of everyone’s favorite underdog supervillain.
The book’s diverse cast features many unusual characters with peculiar superpowers (snot that turns into cement, the ability to make monsters out of plants, etc), which is something a lot of books about superheroes/villains seem to lack. As the plot unfolds, we learn more about these secondary characters, the world they live in and even the romantic lives of several superpowered characters.
If you enjoy superhero movies, if you find yourself occasionally rooting for villains, if you think Joker might be a more interesting character than Batman, or if you just want a fun and entertaining book to read during your flight, you’ll probably love the “Origins of a D-List Supervillain” as well as its sequel.
Score: five stars