THE LEGION OF NOTHING: Rebirth by Jim Zoetewey- a review
The end of summer vacation for North America and our final look at another middle grade/YA novel.
THE LEAGUE OF NOTHING: Rebirth by Jim Zoetewey
THE LEAGUE OF NOTHING is the first storyline in Jim Zoetewey’s series focusing on a league of super hero teens in and around the Grand Lake, Chicago area. As part of the FBI National Hero Program (Super Human Affairs Branch) the original league disbanded in 1983. With the resurgence of evil villains, the new crop of super heroes, are the grandchildren of the original league members. The New Heroes League, as the media has named them, will face off against a group of villains, with connections to former league members, dead villains and political rivals. As the grandchildren and progeny of the original League, each of our Heroes and villains manifests the same power and qualities of their grandparent’s line. From a town where everyone has a connection to a super hero or villain, League of Nothing reads like a comic book story. If you are a fan of the latest super-hero comic book action movies, you may want to take a look.
We are introduced to Nick Klein and his fellow League members and friends who have taken on the persona and identity of their forebearers: Nick is the Rocket (and story narrator) who has inherited the mantle, power, equipment, headquarters and testing lab from his grandfather: Cassie is Captain Commando and one of the few females on the team: Daniel Cohen (aka the Mystic) has inherited telepathic powers. With his ability to read minds, he can also sense the future and change directions during a fight or pursuit: Travis and Haley are children of Nightwolf with the ability to blend in the shadows and shape shift: the speedy Jaclyn: Marcus (the Shift) with a combination of two super hero powers: and Vaughn aka Storm King (descendent of Red Lightning) with the ability to control the weather and electricity. Born without any powers, Vaughn has continued in his grandfather’s footsteps using a power elixir and a power impregnator to gain super power and strength. But Red Lightning was not a hero.
The villains (or anti-heroes) were amassing and their connections led to the possible death of businessman Martin Magnus and a former associate in his office. When Nick recognized an Egyptian hieroglyphic marking similar to the Red Lightning insignia, Nick informed the FBI as to a possible connection between the two. And the FBI found a connection to the power elixir and Magnus. The mayor’s office was somehow involved and little did Nick realize that the mayor was not without some power of his own. The mayor’s accusations and media campaign to smear the heroes was in full swing. And it wasn’t only the New Super Hero League looking to take down the mayor. There were other-older- heroes looking for payback and revenge. The New Super Hero League has made a few enemies and bad press, and the FBI is refusing to back up or offer support. But a call from Magnus proved anything but reassuring to Nick. The mayor would prove to be a worthy opponent, but someone else was pulling the strings. An attack against the young heroes would prove if they worked together as a team, nothing could defeat them except for some negative media propaganda and that would be something that would eventually become the Rocket’s responsibility
There are many other characters, both friendly and villainous that at one point I thought I needed a power point to keep everyone aligned. Mindstryke as Daniel’s father: Man-Machine a villain from the old League days: Nick’s Uncle Larry aka The Rhino and Jason Swan as the Gray Giant: Dark Cloak, Vengeance, Tomahawk, Red Bolt, Future Knight and the Elementals. To be honest there are many more heroes (past and present) to list, but it would take another paragraph or two to list them all.
The author uses many references to current day television and media including late night TV, board games and video gaming phenomenon. With the popularity of many of the current super hero movies, THE LEGION OF NOTHING reminds me of a comic book filled with action and adventure, that my younger brothers would have read into the late hours of the night.
But a couple of complaints: the copious number of costumed heroes and their names. It may be difficult for some younger readers to keep everyone organized, labeled and named without a spreadsheet. And like many premier storylines, there is a vast amount of information and back-story to digest. The final chapter of the book is a flashback to 1953 and the Birth of the Heroes League. Legion of Nothing: Rebirth is an interesting story ala comic-book style including fight scenes, bad guys and super hero moves.
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Copy supplied by publisher.
Reviewed by Sandy
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jim Zoetewey grew up in Holland, Michigan, near where L Frank Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz and other books in that series. Admittedly, Baum moved away more than sixty years before Jim was even born, but it’s still kind of cool. He’s a web developer, a religion and sociology major, and the author of the superhero series The Legion of Nothing. He’s also not sure why he’s writing this in the third person, but he’s never seen an author bio written in first person and doesn’t want to rock the boat.