Kid Sensation made a splash years ago when he fought the entire Alpha League after succeeding in a teen super hero academy tryout. Now a bounty hunter of runaway villains, Kid Sensation is the new target of a conspiracy of villains who want to use him to get at the Alpha League. Will Kid Sensation be able to evade the various villains and heroes that are chasing him, while trying to be a normal teen with super powers?
First, I’d like to thank author Kevin Hardman for sending me a review copy of this latest novel. Having read a lot of philosophy and profound scholarly research the last few months, reading Sensation: A Super Hero Novel was a breeze and took me but about six hours in one go, for the 200 pages book. Sensation seems to have been published independently by Hardman at the same time as Warden: Book 1: Wendigo Fever.
Most super hero-based novels are usually adaptations or new stories featuring characters that already exist in comics or film. The most novel-like original super hero books often seem to be role-playing books. I was quickly drawn into the world created by Hardman for this novel and found his voice mature enough to share a story and make it move quickly with just enough descriptions and action.
As a well-versed super hero reader, it was fun to see a deeper exploration of some of the concepts that permeate the world of people with super powers who fight crime. I’m not sure if Hardman had tried to adapt release Sensation as a comic first, but as a novel, it had the right tone and scope.
Jim, the 16 year old hero of the story sounds like many young heroes with a bit of experience. I would say, his story is much like Image Comics’ Invincible set in the DC Comics universe. Here we have analogues for Superman, Batman, Wolverine and Superboy. Just like many stories about teenage super heroes in the past ranging from the X-Men to the Teen Titans to the Young Avengers, the heroes are under training to perhaps one day attain the same status as their adult peers.
It really felt like I was reading an episode of Young Justice animated with all the teen angst and subplots about love, sacrifice and annoying parents that once can expect. Although there is action throughout the novel, the story starts slowly with enough exposition about Jim’s world that will be very familiar to long-time super hero comics readers.
How Hardman plays with the super hero conventions is not very groundbreaking but is consistent throughout the novel. Where I felt he had a lack, was in fleshing out some of the villains in the book. The main ones are definitely well described, but other ones remain nebulous and on the fringes of the action. Where Hardman redeems himself is in the detective twists that he inserts throughout the novel.
Sensation seems to be a novel written to please the kind of teenaged reader that may like Twilight or The Hunger Games. This is not a criticism. In a sense, it will also be quite entertaining for the average super hero comics reader who seeks one complete story. It’s not stated clearly, but this story is definitely open for a sequel. For my part, as a quick summer read, it was just right. I’m actually curious about whether there is more to the super hero genre in book form.
There are a few typos in this book and the cover, in my opinion did not capture the tone or the essence of the book. Something more figurative might have worked better. The novel can easily be found on Amazon.