Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape

Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape: Attack of the Alien Horde
by Robert Venditti
Illustrated by Dusty Higgins

All over the world, parents tell their scared children, “Don’t worry. Gilded will protect us.” For fifty years Gilded has been the only superhero on the planet, centered in Atlanta, Georgia. The golden one has protected innocents from natural disasters, crime waves, and cats caught in trees.

Miles really doesn’t care. He and his dad just moved. He’s starting seventh grade in a new school, and of course he’s the smallest seventh-grader there. And of course on the first day the bully zeroes in on him. And of course he gets detention. And, yes, his dad picks him up from school and has to drive Miles out to his worksite to finish work. And as his dad works on the electrical in a parking garage, an alien attacks Atlanta.

An alien! There are aliens?!

And of course Gilded is there to defend. And as they battle, they crash into the parking garage. Both lie dying as Miles rushes to the scene of the destruction. Gilded’s cape falls off… and suddenly Gilded is an old man. “Take the cape. Figure it out. I did.”

Miles must learn to become Gilded, because the world needs its hero – now more than ever.

– – –

So, I just finished reading the book. It’s clearly aimed at fifth to sixth grade boys; the action and situations are simple. But I gotta tell you, after reading a bunch of depressing adult novels, the sense of wonder and fun here were a breath of fresh air.

Venditti chose to attack this book in a unique way: about one-fifth of the novel has the prose replaced by comic pages. Basically every time there’s high action, we get to see the action. Venditti uses this little device very well, and the illustrator, Dusty Higgins, really did a great job showing the excitement a seventh-grader would have at flying, beating up an abusive husband, and fighting natural disasters.

If you’re looking for complex moral dilemmas, you’re really not going to find them. You will find some great heroism, though. Miles makes a great realistic hero without falling into terrible angst. The mechanics of the cape are fairly well thought-out, and the villains are just so gloriously over-the-top that it’s a joy to see how Miles defeats them at the end.

Looking for a quick read that’s just plain fun? Look for this one. I hope Venditti is planning more installments in the series, and the sales on this volume warrant a sequel or six!

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