Black and White

The line between superhero and supervillain has never been thinner...

Did you read comics books as a kid? I loved the X-Men myself. I often wondered, what would it be like to be a superhero? Well, wonder no more. Jackie Kessler, who I have never read before, and the talented Caitlin Kittredge got together and produced this fun, intricate, intriguing read. What was so interesting about how they tackled this project is that Ms. Kittredge wrote all the parts that are from Iridium’s point of view and Ms. Kessler wrote for Iridium’s nemesis and former friend Jet.
Jet and Iridium were assigned to be roommates at the school for training superheroes. Jet, whose power is over shadows and Iridium whose power is to produce light, are polar opposites in power and temperament. Over the course of the book, you see how their friendship developed and ultimately fell apart. These days, Jet is the Lady of Shadows, Hero of New Chicago while Iridium is a rabid, a superhero gone rogue. Iridium has been fighting for years to bring down the corporation that runs the school she and all the heroes were trained at and who ultimately runs their lives. Jet desperately wants to bring Iridium to justice while Iridium wants to wake Jet up and get her to see that she is on the wrong side. They both come across information that could topple the organization as well as bring them full circle as friends and maybe start working together.
Opposites seems to be a key theme in this book starting with Jet, whose power over shadows is a dark power but is the hero of the city while Iridium is the bad guy even though her power is light. There are the superheroes and in the regular human population you have a militant group called the Everyman. They are out to get rid of the superheroes as they see them as too powerful and want to rule regular people. I really enjoyed the fully formed world that the authors created for Jet and Iridium to inhabit. I could so picture this as a movie (hint, hint). The layering of the plot was so subtle that you didn’t realize you were getting hints until the very end. Jet and Iridium are so well done; living, breathing people that I couldn’t wait to return to see what they would do next.
Ultimately, this book was not just a story about superheroes with some humor thrown in but a deeper story about prejudice, ulterior motives, corporate shadiness, trust, and friendship. Thank goodness there will be a sequel, Shades of Gray coming in July 2010.

Book Blurb for Black and White

It's the ultimate battle of good versus good.

They were best friends at an elite academy for superheroes in training, but now Callie Bradford, code name Iridium, and Joannie Greene, code name Jet, are mortal enemies. Jet is a by-the-book hero, using her Shadow power to protect the citizens of New Chicago. Iridium, with her mastery of light, runs the city’s underworld. For the past five years the two have played an elaborate, and frustrating, game of cat and mouse.

But now playtime’s over. Separately Jet and Iridium uncover clues that point to a looming evil, one that is entwined within the Academy. As Jet works with Bruce Hunter—a normal man with an extraordinary ability to make her weak in the knees—she becomes convinced that Iridium is involved in a scheme that will level the power structure of America itself. And Iridium, teaming with the mysterious vigilante called Taser, uncovers an insidious plot that’s been a decade in the making…a plot in which Jet is key.

They’re both right. And they’re both wrong. Because nothing is as simple as Black and White.

Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2009 4.75