Disclaimers: There are none. I bought this book as part of a charity fundraiser. Now I will return you to our regular scheduled book review.
Beyond the Mask is an Atlas-Fiction anthology themed around what happens to super-heroes when the not being, well, super-heroes. From nursing homes to betrayals and more, this anthology runs the gamut of what happens in the ordinary lives of super-heroes.
First, I appreciate anthologies because I love getting to check out multiple authors without reading thousands of pages. Not that I won’t read that many pages, but I get those little tastes first. The distinct styles are fun to explore, as are the ways the authors cram a lot of story into one small piece each.
One story I got a kick out of in this anthology was S.P.A. It this story about a bunch of super-heroes in a self-help style support group called Super-Powereds Anonymous. Then, despite all the best intentions of the group, things go awry, and they must trust perhaps the least trustworthy member of the group to help them fix things. The characters were awesome in this, as was the excellent feeling of the support group atmosphere.
Persimmon was another one that stuck out to me. The angst that Persimmon experiences, the family dynamics, and the tension throughout the story built in wonderful ways with an excellent sense of realism.
The Whole Anthology
Honestly, I loved all the stories in the book. It was clear every author had put a lot of thought into what super-heroes are doing around those moments where it’s time to save the world.
I think the only criticism I have of the anthology is that there were a few editing issues. By no means was it enough to detract from the overall enjoyment of the book. Just enough for me to see them and notice.
The Stunning (or not) Conclusion
In the end, I recommend this anthology. Lots of wonderful stories and you’re supporting a good cause. Which is something else I appreciated as a reader, the book explains the charity to which the proceeds go and what they do. Definitely worth it.