By Thomas E. Sniegoski
Available now from Random House (Delacorte)
I've been on a comic book inspired YA kick. I have HERO by Perry Moore, the Hottie series by Jonathon Bernstein, DULL BOY by Sarah Cross, and I'm probably forgetting a few. (Any suggestions to assauge my craving?) From the above list, LEGACY most closely resembles HERO. There's an emphasis of the father-son relationship and a questioning of superhero idols. Aside from that, they don't have much in common.
Thomas E. Sniegoski started his career in comics, and it shows. He's familiar with the tropes and uses one of my least favorite - the disposable woman. (LEGACY, specifically, is an instance of Doomed Hometown, which is far preferable to Women in Refrigerators. Please not that the Women in Refrigerators site is not appropriate for children as it catalogues "superheroines who have been either depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator.") Lucas Moore's mom raised him alone, working as a waitress. One day a man shows up at his job, claiming to be his father - billionaire Clayton Hartwell and superhero Raptor. Pretty soon, Raptor's enemies have killed Lucas's mother and neighbors. Lucas is inspired to defeat those responsible for his mother's death, but other than that he shows no signs of grief and barely thinks about her.
But the plot does move quickly, which is essential in a short novel like LEGACY. Lucas encounters a former protege of Raptor and begins to realize that his dying father is concealing dark secrets. Sniegoski develops an entertaining origin for Lucas, and I like his helpers - a teenaged girl and a crippled old man. I'd be enthusiastically recommending it to comic book fans if it weren't for that pesky use of a hated trope.
Sniegoski is also the author of the FALLEN quartet, which is currently being rereleased. (The second omnibus will be available July 20th.) I haven't read these since they were first released in 2003-4, but I remember liking them. Fans of fallen angel books like HUSH, HUSH may enjoy this guy-oriented series.