Exploding from the pages of Horror, Humor, and Heroes, Volume One - it’s the full length adventures of the one and only Mechani-Cal! So grab your battlesuit and prepare to get a little nasty.
"Being a supervillain means never having to say you’re sorry - unless it’s to the judge or the parole board. Even then, you don’t really have to. It’s not like it’s going to change the outcome or anything." Those are the words of Calvin Matthew Stringel, better known as Mechani-Cal. He’s a down-on-his-luck armored villain. Follow his exploits as he gets swept up in a world domination scheme gone wrong and ends up working for these weak willed, mercy loving heroes. Immerse yourself in epic battles and see what it’s like to be an outsider looking in at a world that few have ever experienced. Climb into Cal’s battlesuit and join him on his journey. Will he avoid selling out his principles for a paycheck and a pardon? Can he resist the camaraderie of being on a super team? Does he fall prey to the ample charms of the beautiful Olympian Aphrodite? How will he survive the jealous schemes of Ultraweapon, who wears armor so powerful it makes Cal’s look like a museum piece?
See the world of “righteous do-gooders” through the eyes of someone who doesn’t particularly care for them. Revel in his sarcasm and hang on for one wild ride! Just remember: losing an argument with a group of rioters isn’t a good excuse to start lobbing tear gas indiscriminately at them. You’ve only got so many rounds and it’s going to be a long day, so make sure you get as many as possible with each one.
©2011 Jim Bernheimer (P)2011 Jeffrey Kafer
So every now and then a story comes along and just surprises the heck out yah! This is one of them. The writing is great, but the narration added so much to it! When you have characters that are so smart and just plan ahead so well, it really makes for a great afternoon. You will laugh out loud at some point during this book, and I believe that everyone will be able to relate to the character on some level too.
Read it, you'll love it!
This is a sideways take on the traditional superhero/supervillain story. Some other reviewers have said that lacks originality, but being a comic (ahem, graphic novel) nerd, I consider it a genre. And it's a genre I dig.
This tale follows Cal, a supervillain who is just getting by, but is eminently likeable despite his illicit career path. When his circumstances change and he winds up playing on the good guys' team, he finds all sorts of hurdles. It's a fun story, but that's not to say he doesn't have to deal with some real problems. Still I'd say it's lighthearted overall and an engaging listen.
Superheroes and Villans seem the be the rage these days, especially with the Avengers, The Dark Knight, Spiderman and Kick-Ass all having their day in the sun. With that in mind, I can't help but say that I've always had a soft spot for well-written stories about superheroes and their antithesis, their arch-enemy villain. I've always savored a battle royal, sometimes to the death, where fantastic powers housed in finite and flawed men and women come to bear, where in the end, only one champion is left standing.
This is definitely a story of flawed heroes and villains.
Without giving much away, I CAN say that the story starts out with a world completely conquered, heroes and villains alike, and one very flawed anti-hero must choose the harder, more difficult road to bring humanity back from the brink.
Yep, that's where it STARTS. And its storyline is as good or better than most of the genre.
Bottom line, we get an exceptional audiobook listen, and while it's NOT War and Peace, it's a VERY fun and engaging listen, one to which I've listened a total of three times.
You read correctly. Three times.
Great escapism, and again, well-written.
So, champion, step into the battle royale. Bring your powers to bear, and get this audiobook today!
Im some guy in Oshkosh, WI that walks to work and has found the joy of listening to good books and values good narrators :).
This book is just fun to listen to. I like hearing a villains take on the super community. In many ways Cal seems more like the rest of us, someone whos flawed, has made mistakes and is trying to do better. The heroes are aloof and too good for the rest of us and Cal is just some guy they need for heavy lifting but doesn't quite fit in, anyone who has been to high school will see similarities here.
The only criticism of the book I have is at the end when the narrator changes. You didn't hear her voice at all then for the last 10 min of the book you hear her voice instead of Jeffrey Kafer. Im not sure if its that she wasn't the right voice for the character or that it was jarring after hearing all the book read by Jeffrey to have a different narrator. Having 2 narrators works for books like Peter Clines "Ex-Heroes" but It works I think because the narrators are constantly switching off throughout the book. Here they didn't do that and I think hurts the over all quality of the listen.
I'd like to read more books about Cals adventures. If you like this book I think you should probably also check out Peter Clines's books which are equally entertaining.
Fun & light story
Reminded me a bit of books by A Lee Martinez, though I'd have to say Martinez is likely a better writer.
Jeffrey Kafer is a decent narrator. Talmadge Ragan - not so much.
Talmadge Ragan narrates the last portion of the book. She is NOT a great narrator - her enunciation is terrible she sounds like she is slurring her words or speaking with marbles in her mouth.
Amateur. It reads like the work of a very talented high school freshman. He describes a string of events, but completely fails to put the reader in the situation. There's hardly any description from a visual standpoint. I don't know what any of the characters look like, or what any of the settings look like. This gives no sense of place to the reader. It feels like it all takes place on one stage. He skips over parts of narrative as if he's in a hurry or bored. As a result, I was in a hurry, and bored.
The reader sounds like an accountant. He has almost no range of inflection. He sounds like he has never read a comic book, and as a result uses a stilted, sneering tone of voice for the whole book. This makes all the characters sound identically smarmy. He consistently gets the inflection wrong, confusing the sentence, as if he hasn't pre-read the page. Maybe he was pulled onto the job on short notice? It sure feels like it. This reader should listen to James Marsters for a lesson in how to handle fantasy without talking down to the reader or making the content feel cheesy.
Annoyed and disappointed.
There was a previous book by Austin Grossman called Soon I Will Be Invincible. It came out before this book, and was written and read better. I suggest that book instead.
Calvin Stringel, aka "Mechani-Cal," is, as the title of his autobiography indicates, a D-list supervillain. He's that guy you barely remember who took up about 4 pages in issue #277 six years ago. Spider-Man beat him up once, and maybe he was part of a gang that got flattened by the Avengers during an ill-conceived plan to raid Fort Knox.
Mechani-Cal is basically, as he is repeatedly reminded, a cheap knockoff of Ultraweapon, who is this universe's Iron Man. As the story starts, however, the villainous Overlord has unleashed a plague of mind-controlling insects that have taken over most of the planet. Mechani-Cal, by staying in his armor for the last few weeks, is one of the few free-willed humans left on Earth. When he runs into the Olympians — the most powerful superhero team on Earth, and all mind-controlled — he manages to free Aphrodite from her mental enslavement. They head back to his secret underground base, which is basically a rathole in a junkyard.
The plot thenceforth flows in heroic fashion as Mechani-Cal ends up literally helping save the world, and thus "reformed," tries to earn a pardon for all past crimes by joining the good guys. Of course, none of them trust him, and Calvin is, while not truly evil, certainly not a hero. And he's now dating Aphrodite. Who used to be dating Ultraweapon. Ultraweapon doesn't take this very well.
Mechani-Cal is actually a "realistic" character given the givens of a superhero universe. The explanation for how an engineering genius has wound up being a low-rent villain mostly known for getting pounded by any hero he has the misfortune to fight makes sense, and Cal's struggle to redeem himself, without really feeling like he needs redemption, makes him a character you root for even if he is still kind of a jerk. It helps that it turns out that some of the heroes are even bigger jerks.
Cal levels up in a big way over the course of the book. He also gets to bang two of the most beautiful and powerful superheroines in the world, despite being a nerdy, unattractive ex-villain. A wish-fulfillment fantasy? Oh yeah. But he never really stops being a dork who screws up more often than he succeeds. And yet, he's very human and endearing in a fallible way. He continually does all the right things, not necessarily for the right reasons.
I enjoyed this book quite a lot. It was like a good miniseries based on some obscure mainstream comics character that a writer took a shine to, except of course these are all characters who exist only in this book.
Cal has issues.
Cal was easy to connect with, plenty of fun tech, crazy hive bugs trying to take over the world.
Kafer was great for Cal, cynical and ticked off at the world.
Can the mech withstand the mind-controlling bugs?
In Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, Mechani-Cal (or just Cal) is a beat up down and out supervillain in a beat up mechanical suit. The world has gone buggy, literally. Someone’s science project escaped the test tube and these bugs can now attach themselves to humans and make them part of the world hive. Cal has been living in his mech suit for far too many weeks avoiding being assimilated. the story opens with a quick, dirty fight between Cal and some of the Olympians, guardians of the East coast. He manages to knock a bug off Aphrodite (Stacey) and flies off with her to his secret hideaway dump. Alas, it is a trap. Luckily Cal has an exit strategy and perseverance. After all, he needs allies to rid the world of the mind-control bugs.
This book was a highly entertaining messed up ride. Cal is such the anti-hero and yet not such a bad guy. He’s not afraid to do the tough deeds that need doing, as he sees it. He doesn’t shy away from a task just because society might frown on his resolution to the problem. Constantly doubting the good will of those around him (and usually with good reason), it is almost always Cal against the world. Couple that with his geek tinkering skills of creating mech suits, robots, body armor, and weapons and you have a supervillain who mostly just wants to be left alone. Alas, the world won’t let him curl up in his little cave of anger.
Most of the good guys have nothing but disdain for Cal, even after he saves their asses. But that’s OK because they have silly names, like the Bugler. Yep. The Bugler. This book has me chuckling out loud at the casual way these superhero (and supervillain) names would be tossed into the narrative. Anemone, Hermes, Komodo, etc.
The plot itself is really a series of smaller plots, one flowing into another. Kind of like a series of comics. One emergency ends just in time for another to develop, often popping up in just the right time and place to bite Cal in the ass. Poor dude. His love life is also complicated and I liked that it was all messy and not some cookie-cutter romance. Granted, all the women are hotties and only half the men are.
Bernheimer isn’t afraid to kill characters off and I especially like this. Real life has consequences, and when I read my fiction I like to see that reflected. No, I didn’t cry over any of the deaths and while Cal catches some flak for his actions, I totally cheered him on. In short, this was quite the fun listen, a great escape from average superhero tales. This tale reminded me of James Maxey‘s Nobody Gets the Girl and the webisode silliness known as Dr. Horrible, both of which I am quite fond of.
Having never read the print version it is hard to say, however, seeing as how the reader really brought it to life, I bet it sure is. The comedy gold of this book was delivered brilliantly by the narrator.
I haven't read or listened to anything like it before, but I'd sure like to find more like it!
Calvin Matthew Stringel, the main character, this character was a hoot to listen to, and I am certain that it was in fact exactly how that character was supposed to sound.
Not necessarily, the entire book was great, but I didn't really find a scene in there that particularly moved me.
This is a fun ride and great story and well worth the price, my only complaint was that it wasn't long enough! :)
Already have and will continue to recommend it to friends.
Cal, the main character, is my favorite. He is witty and a true hero amongst posers.
Quality voice acting from both and great use of vocal distortion on some of the characters. Kafer is great in portraying MechaniCal's disdain and frustration over the heroes actions.
Sometimes it takes a villain to save the world.
Any comic book fan will have a blast listening to this story and treasure it as if it were their favorite comic, I did.
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