David Reiss is a friend of mine, so I’m a little embarrassed that I took this long to checking out what he’s written. I also know some of the things he’s into, fiction-wise, and they don’t always mesh with my tastes. So, I started Fid’s Crusade with a little trepidation, and a few mental nods, ‘okay, yeah, this is the type of character he gravitates towards…’.

And all of that went away during chapter 2, and the story took over.

Fid (a phoneticization of ‘Ph. D.’) is a supervillain by choice. And he’d have a hard time being a hero, as he’s got a tremendous ego, and enjoys the adrenaline rush of fighting. But, he has a bundle altruistic motives as well. Technologies that his alter-ego creates are directly aimed at trying to solve some of the bigger problems the world faces. There’s a passel of technologies known to be developed by the villain, and he does try to get the safer ones that can help into the right hands. The primary, and really problematic one, is a desire to punish all the superheroes that don’t live up to his own standards of what they should be. The glory seekers, the ones that don’t endeavor to keep collateral damage (especially to non-combatants) down, and the actual jerks are all targets of Fid’s ire.

The story is told by Fid himself, and shows a high degree of genre-savvyness. I certainly appreciate the occasional bits where he learns of some adventure of a hero getting back from another dimension or the like and just shakes his head over how odd the lives of superheroes can be. On the other hand, the constant knowing nearly everything he needs to about most heroes through pervasive searches and system hacking gets a bit old, if only because no one else seems to have really wised up to this yet. (Though his primary nemesis is a forensic accountant, so there is that.) However, this is all done with a lot of wit, which makes the entire story a joy.

There’s some nice world-building done. It was a fairly normal universe until something happened that allowed superpowers to emerge. And it’s not a local phenomenon to Earth, but more galaxy-wide. It’s a nice bit of background… until it starts becoming more and more central to the plot. But even still, there’s plenty of unanswered questions that I hope the further books look at some.

Good job, Dave. I’ll need to get to the second book (looks nervously at the pile of unread books) …soon.