Reviewed by Tansy Rayner Roberts
Naomi Novik has moved into whole new territory with her recent release, Will Supervillains Be on the Final Vol. One. Far from the Napoleonic dragon bromance of Temeraire and his many sequels, this is the first in an American manga series that I really enjoyed. It has the fluffy romance of a Fruits Basket, mixed with a whole lot of US superhero traditions, and is beautifully drawn by Yishan Li.
This first volume introduces nervous student prodigy Leah, who has been allowed into superhero university Liberty Vocational a couple of years early because her immense powers are greatly needed in the war against supervillainy. There’s a whole world lightly sketched here, with hints of far bigger stories in the past and the future. I’m particularly intrigued by the background character of Calvin Washington, once the greatest superhero ever, now a quiet professor who has lost his powers. I also genuinely enjoyed the classroom challenges, and the left-of-centre lessons being thrown at the students. As a sucker for magical school stories, and someone who has been hanging out for a new fluffy manga to fall in love with, I’m signing up for this one!
The only down side is I’m not sure of when the next one is coming out, and whether there is a regular schedule planned or if they’re just putting out one to see how well they sell. Wahhh!