The novel follows the story of two third-tiered arch-enemies who have reached middle age without anything to show for their years as costumed adventurers. Anton Gregory, aka “The Eclipser,” is an ex-con and an ex-villain who likes to think of himself as “honorable”
The novel opens with Anton coming out of fifteen years incarceration for, as he likes to think, saving a little girl in danger. While Anton's attempts to put his life back with a lousy dishwashing job and a cape-chaser for a girlfriend hadn't amounted to much, Craig Smith, aka “Captain Splendor” meanwhile struggles with his own depression after being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, Emily Giatti, and owing the mob the kind of money that puts the fear of God even in someone who can bend steel with his bare hands. Both shares the opinion that midlife could be better.
Despite the superhero overtones, the book isn't a standard science fiction/fantasy fare. More than merely a story about super-powered spandex-wearing loonies, the novel attempts to capture the over-all spirit of superhero comics. Anton and Craig start out as archetypal characters of the Silver Age, only to find that their Silver Age sensibilities no longer apply in the Modern Age.
Pineda wants to deconstruct the superhero milieu in a fun way reminiscent of J. M. Dematteis and Keith Giffen’s Justice League run. The situations that these two characters end up in are great set-up for comedy and yet Pineda refrains from using slapstick to get cheap laughs. The novel is surprising in its intimate portrayal of the characters.
Because of the nature of the book, it can't be avoided to have appearances of pastiched characters spoofing archetypal superheroes like Superman and Batman.
Agents of Light & Shade is now available for purchase on Amazon.com, BN.com, Smashwords.com and other online stores.
S. L. Pineda
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