The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack



Origins of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer

Posted by Gilbert Stack on January 19, 2022 at 5:30 PM

Origins of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer

If I had known this was a prequel novel to Bernheimer’s D-List Supervillain series, I wouldn’t have started with it, but would have started with book 1, Confessions of a D-List Supervillain. Prequels that try to explain how events got to where a series starts (as opposed to simply telling a good story) are challenging and I don’t think Bernheimer was totally successful in this book. The tale is enjoyable, but not quite as magical as I was expecting. The problem is that the plot is more focused on explaining how Cal became a supervillain instead of on a suitable challenge for him. (By contrast, the cliffhanger at the end of the book is very exciting and makes me very hopeful for Confessions.)


On the positive side, Cal’s backstory is engaging. Having invented the force blaster that makes the hero, Ultraweapon, so dangerous, he is outraged when he isn’t publicly credited with his invention. What’s worse, he’s blacklisted for insisting on credit as a warning to other employees and his company then sets about making him unemployable anywhere. Finally, in desperation, he turns to crime and is pathetic at it. I suspect this was supposed to be somewhat humorous, but it didn’t make me laugh. The rest of the novel is dedicated to Cal trying to get his supervillain career going.


Why supervillains are not successful is an obvious underlying theme of the story which I suspect will continue throughout the series. I’m definitely interested in reading the next book, but quite frankly this first one is not the one you should start with.


Categories: Reviews