Date of Publication: 2008
Number of Pages: 380
Synopsis (from back cover): If New Orleans has earned its “Sin City” nickname for its debauchery, then its nearby sister Devil’s Cape has earned its “Pirate Town” moniker for the violence and blatant corruption that have marred the city since its founding. A city where corruption and heroism walk hand-in-hand, and justice and mercy are bought and paid-for in blood, Devil’s Cape is a city like no other.
Devil’s Cape blends the gritty Louisiana noir of James Lee Burke with the unforgettable characters and horror of Stephen King – all within a gripping story of superhuman heroes reminiscent of Alan Moor’s Watchmen or NBC’s mega-hit Heroes.
Review: This is the most unusual story I’ve ever read. This is an America that is different from the one in which we live; this is an America where superhumans battle supervillains, and the helpless citizens take it for granted that they live in a war zone. Devil’s Cape was a haven for pirates, and is now in the grips of ruthless mobsters and violent gangs. Superheroes have come and gone, but the supervillains have stuck around…for centuries. The story centers around three unlikely superheroes, from very different walks of life, people who had only wished to live normal lives until fate intervened.
The story starts out at a fast pace, going back thirty years, setting up the main characters and the history of Devil’s Cape. At first, I was a little put off by the nonchalance with which the superheroes are treated, making them seem like no big deal. They are indeed national heroes, but in this reality, superhuman powers are not that uncommon, whether acquired or inherited. Some superheroes are like Batman: they use technology and their own, normal, fighting abilities to fight crime. Others are born with these abilities, or they acquire them through some other means, like the curse of an angry Voodoo priestess or an unusual baptism ritual. Weaving through the science fiction atmosphere is a sense of the supernatural, making the heroes and villains themselves more complex and interesting.
Rob Rogers manages to make this story flow nicely, except for the somewhat inconsistent time flow. Sometimes the action goes back years, or sometimes just seconds. I understood the need for this technique, but it made the reading feel stilted at times. I enjoyed the book, but felt that the concept could have been ironed out a bit. The technical content was very well done, and the characters themselves, even some of the villains, were relateable. I recommend this book to any fan of contemporary fantasy or classic comic books.