Monday, April 29, 2013

Why Now?

In the West, they are calling it a "game-changer". Here in the East, we are treating the "evidence" of Syria using chemical weapons with a yawn.

Despite all the talk from US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, no one here truly believe (or will believe) anything that is been said about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons. If you think this is because of Iraq, you are right but only partially. Partially because the Syrian Civil War has been going on for 2 years, at least 70,000 Syrians have been killed already, so why in the world would President Bashar al-Assad use chemical weapons now? 

What's more is the simple fact that the Syrian government is winning! The US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Jordon, Turkey etc had been throwing their support behind the rebels for more than a year and the rebels have made little to no inroads whatsoever. In fact, the Syrian government has been steadily taking terrority back from the rebels. The capital of Damascus for example is now almost totally in the control of the Syrian government. (And for those of you who only get your news from Western media, hit-and-run tactics is not considered "fierce fighting").

So it has been 2 years, he is winning, so why would the Syrian government use chemical weapons now of all time? That is the question President Obama will need to answer if he want the world to be on his side when if he decide to go into Syria. Forgot about showing any "evidence" to the world, everyone still remember Colin Powell's UN speech. President Obama need to answer the question of "why now"? If he doesn't, then like the Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said, the accusations "do not have any credibility".

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cosplay In The Sky

Cosplaying flight attendants? A Chinese airline, Spring Airlines, have plans to dress its female flight attendants in maids-like uniform. Of course in the spirit of fairness, male flight attendants will have uniforms to make them look like butlers.

So far, most people are criticizing the move as sexism. However, I like the idea! I personally think it's a pretty smart and innovative move. I mean this move will put the airlines on the map and after singing flight attendants; dancing flight attendants; why not cosplaying flight attendants? Hell, the Singapore Girl is almost a cosplay costume right? So why not maids flight attendants?

If nothing else, it would make for a funny trip.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Problem Out Of Thin Air

When Gilbert Goh announced that he will be holding a May Day protest at Hong Lin Park, I questioned the wisdom of that. I said then that the successful protest on 16th February could be a one-time thing as the 10 weeks break between the two protests would be a problem and less people will show up on 1st May.

That might no longer be the case as the May Day protest just got a shot in the arm by, of all people, the Singapore government. 

The problem started when two ministers contacted the Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP), a Muslim civil group, and exerted pressure due to Nizam Ismail, a director of the group who was scheduled to speak at the May Day protest. In a post on his blog, Mr. Ismail announced that he decided to quit as a board director of AMP as it had been hinted that government funds "might" be withheld from the group if he spoke at the protest. His resignation was to distance himself from AMP.

Speak about shooting yourself in the foot! 

Seriously, who the hell is Nizam Ismail. No offence to the man but I never heard of him and I believe most Singaporeans have no idea who he is. He is a non-factor. So what does it matter if he speaks at the protest? Or to be exact; he was a non-factor. He is now a factor because everyone now knows the Singapore government is trying to stop him from speaking at the protest! 

With his resignation and blog post, the Singapore government just gave the May Day protest a free promotion. It made the protest bigger and more important than it was. The protest is now suddenly a problem for the government, and it is a problem that the government created out of thin air.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

8-1 To Germany

If there were any doubts that Germany is the new king of world football (even after Bayern Munich crushed Barcelona 4-0 in the first semi-final of the Champions League), this morning’s result should put it to rest. This morning, Borussia Dortmund defeated Real Madrid 4-1 to prove beyond any doubts that the power of world football has firmly moved from Spain to Germany.

With the prospect of an all-German final on the cards, let's look at the facts. The top 2 teams in Germany has just defeated the top 2 teams in Spain by a total of 8-1! Not only that, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund did it in a distinctly German way. Bayern's best player in the game against Barcelona was German playmaker Thomas Muller, and while Polish striker Robert Lewandowski scored all 4 goals in their game against Madrid, the architect of Dortmund's win was German midfielder Mario Goetze. Madrid's best player is Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's best player is Argentina's Lionel Messi!

If things keep going this way, the favorites and winner for next year's World Cup might not be Brazil or Spain. It will be Germany.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Comics this week

Justice League Dark #19- With the "Death of Magic" story over, writer Ray Fawkes and Jeff Lemire moved the team back to Earth. It starts with a bang as a bomb tried to take out John Constantine. From there, it was a mazy trip as the team tried to figured out whose targeting them. However, it soon became apparent that this issue was nothing but a primer of the coming Trinity crossover; there's even a cameo from the Flash. I'm not sure about this. After the lackluster  "Death of Magic" story, the series need to get its legs back and I'm afraid a primer for a crossover that's going to cut into 3 ongoing series is not going to do that job. 

I, Vampire #19- It is with great sadness that I announced the end of this great series. The forced cancellation of the series forced writer Joshua Hale Fialkov to rushed an ending to the storyline but before that, this was one of the best series on the stands. To twist the knife in, DC decided to get artist Andrea Sorrentino to return for this issue and without knocking Fernando Blanco (the other artist in this issue), the pages by Sorrentino showed just what we had been missing. It's too bad that DC broke up the team of Fialkov and Sorrentino; if they had kept them together, "I, Vampire" would had a chance of becoming a classic. 

Red Lantern #19- Frankly by now, I'm just buying this issue to follow the "Wrath of the First Lantern" crossover. Nuff' said.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Strike

As last November's SMRT bus driver strike was the first strike in over 20 years, the aftermath of the strike is still vibrating here in Singapore. Of course, the main question for the government is how to prevent more strikes from happening.

I personally don’t understand why that’s even a question. To me, the answer is amazingly simple. Give our trade unions some teeth!

The main reason why the bus drivers held a strike last November was because they were treated unfairly. It’s that simple. They are foreign workers here in Singapore doing the same work as other foreign workers but are paid less than foreign workers from Malaysia even though they had paid a recruitment fee of around S$7,000. On top of that, they were housed in dormitories that were dirty and unhygienic.

None of these problems would have occurred in the first place if the bus drivers were unionised and none of the problems would have occurred if the companies thought that they would be bought to task by the unions of Singapore

Now I know it’s somewhat fashionable to blame SMRT for the problems, but they are not alone in their poor treatment of foreign workers. Remember how many incidents involving foreign workers happened after the strike? One company even tried to withhold the salaries of their foreign workers for 1-2 months, waiting for them to be deported. The moment their actions got into the papers, suddenly the workers got paid the next day. If these incidents prove anything, it's that the SMRT weren’t doing anything any other company in Singapore were not also doing.

None of them would have dared to pull something like this in a country with a strong union. I am not the only one in Singapore who thinks NTUC is a joke. I mean remember when NTUC labour chief Lim Swee Say tried to explain why there was a difference in pay between nationalities in SMRT? Singapore must be the only country in the world where the union chief actually defend a company against workers!

As long as stuff like that happened, foreign workers will take things into their own hands. Singaporeans can just quit but foreign workers do not have this option. If Singapore want to prevent strikes in the future, the answer is simple. Have a union that actually works! 

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Coming Overkill

When George Lucas sold out to Disney, fans were jumping up and down in happiness because almost immediately, Disney announced that they will be releasing new Star Wars movies. However, fans are less than happy now and with good reason.

Disney announced that there will be a new Star Wars movie every year from 2015 to 2019. According to press release, Episode VII will be released in summer 2015, Episode VIII in 2017 and Episode IX in 2019. In between, in 2016 and 2018, there will be a stand-alone films focusing on certain characters within the Star Wars mythos. Yes, that means there will be 5 Star Wars films in 5 years!

Now I know there was no way Disney was going to wait 20+ years before releasing Star Wars films like the time between the 2 trilogies we had so far, but to say their plans are ambitious is an understatement! Haven't they ever heard of overkill? Or killing the golden goose that lays the eggs?

I have no doubt that Episode VII is going to make a lot of money for Disney but there's no guarantee the follow-up films will do the same. If the second or the third films (touch wood) under-perform, Star Wars may be in trouble because production for the reminding films will be already be underway!

Why not just film Episode VII first, see how it do and then go from there? Surely that's a better idea than Star Wars oversaturation?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Comics this week

Justice League #19- I have been complaining about writer Geoff Johns’ work on the GL crossover but this issue of the Justice League shows just what he is capable of. The idea of Batman’s contingency plans getting stolen and hijacked by villains is not new but Johns managed to breath life into the story with tight pacing and having the confrontation facing the League with the relationship of Superman and Wonder Woman. Gorgeous art by Ivan Reis doesn’t hurt either. Even the Shazam backup, which I wasn’t a fan of at first, continued its steady improvement in the last few chapters. This is what Geoff Johns is capable of. If only he managed to have this level writing on his GL titles!

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #19- I know the “Warth of The First Lantern” crossover is supposed to be writer Geoff John’s GL swansong but I have to say this swansong has, thus far, not been up to the usual high standard of his run on the GL titles. Just look at this issue for an example. The White Ring is the hardest to wield, there was even a run of several issues that shows how difficult it was for Kyle Rayner to wield all 7 powers of the emotion spectrum, but now in this crossover, the white lantern is jumping around like a hot potato. I know DC is looking to set things up for the new creative teams but that does not mean they should throw away the baby with the bathwater. I mean Simon Baz? Seriously? The new guy has been a lantern for a few days and “boom”, he can hold the White Ring. Seriously?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Behind The Times, But Still Correct

Sir Stirling Moss is a former racing driver from England often called "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship". There’s good reason for that. Moss raced from 1948 to 1962, winning 212 out of 529 races. 16 of those wins came in the Formula One Grand Prix, the pinnacle of motor sports.

He drove for Lotus, Maserati, Jaguar, Ferrari and Porsche, all big names in motor sports at that time and to this day, remains a well-known, well-respected, and much loved figure in motor sports. So when this guy speaks about motor racing, he knows what he is talking about.

Recently however, Sir Moss got into trouble for saying that women should not be competing among men in motor sports because they can’t compete with men in motor sports. Basically, he was saying that women should not compete alongside men because there is no way mentally they are not going to beat men in a sport where their lives are on the line.

Sir Moss was criticized for being behind the times. Now at 82, I believe there is some truth that Sir Moss might be behind the times, but that doesn’t change one thing; the man is also right.

Although machines play a big part in motor sports, the physical and mental strength of the driver are also very important. Right now, the most famous female driver is Danica Patrick. The 31 year old is by far the most successful woman in motorsport and took pole position in this year's Daytona 500 IndyCar race. She even won an IndyCar race in 2008. 

However, before supporters use her as an example, they need to look at the big picture. Danica Patrick may do well and win a race here and there, but she is never going to win the championship. Going through a whole season, scoring wins and points throughout the season is something beyond her. I'm not knocking her ability, I'm just stating a physical and metal fact. No matter how skilled or determined she is, she is at a physical and mental disadvantage from the get-go. 

That is just a fact.

So before people start criticizing Sir Stirling Moss, they also need to look at the picture of motorsport. It is a sport and woman are at a natural disadvantage when competing against men. So in short; Sir Moss may be behind the times, but he is still correct in his assessment. Women should not be competing alongside men in motorsports.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Not A Surprise

In March, developers in Singapore sold 2,793 housing units, more than 3 times the 712 units sold in February. Going by news reports in Singapore, it seems that I’m the only one not surprised by the figure.

For the life of me, I do not understand why. I mean just a few weeks ago, a mansion along Nassim Road that includes a two-story home, swimming pool and tennis court, was put on the market for a record $242 million. Now the seller might not get that price but it is an indication how bullish people are about the property market in Singapore.

On this, I can fully understand why. Despite all the talk of cooling measures, property prices in Singapore has not gone down. In fact, it has been slowly but steady rising.Prices are up, and they are steadily going higher! This despite all this talk of property cooling measures! What do you do in a market whose chart is on a steady upwards climb? You buy. 

If you are a buyer looking at this market, this is the thing you are looking at. That is why I'm not surprised that Singapore’s March home sales rose to a new record high. And that's why despite all the talk of cooling measures, the market will still be hot for the near future.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Down The Throat It Goes

Just last month, I laughed as news of the terrible launch of SimCity came in. I laughed because the “always-on” function of the game bought it, and its publisher EZ, to its knees. I stated then that this wasn’t the first time it happened and said that games that do not need an internet connection should not have it as a requirement to play games.

I stand by my view but it seems that the lesson is not learned by some companies. Rumors had been floating for awhile now that the next X-Box by Microsoft will require an always-on Internet connection. This rumor is now almost confirmed by a creative director at the company.

Adam Orth is considered a fairly influential voice within Microsoft Studios and as gamers grumbled that they will switch to the PlayStation for the next generation if the next X-Box has an “always-on” function; Orth took to Twitter to criticize people for not having an always-on connection, stating that they should get with the times and said that it is awesome.

Of course, the gaming community has swiftly condemned Orth for his views and his criticism of gamers but one thing seems to have been cleared; the next X-Box will require an always-on Internet connection. It makes no sense for a creative director of Microsoft to defend a much hated function otherwise. 

So all you X-box lovers get your internet service ready; you are going to need it. Like it or not, Microsoft is going to force “always-on” down your throats.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Welfare Is Not All Bad

Welfare is a dirty word in Singapore. That is the truth because for decades, the Singapore government has openly and proudly state that they are against the very idea of welfare. Basically, being a “welfare state” is one of the big fears of the Singapore government.

However, there is some proof that having welfare is not always a bad thing. There are some good things in having it as a social policy, and I’m not just talking about making ends make for the less fortunate. Having welfare has the ability to allows people to pursuit their interest!

Case in point; Irish MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter Conor McGregor! A featherweight fighter from Dublin, McGregor recently made his debut in the biggest MMA stage in the world; the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). In his debut fight in the UFC, in Sweden, McGregor score an impressive victory by knocking out his opponent. He was so impressive that the UFC immediately booked him for another fight in August and gave him a US$60,000 bonus for "Knockout of the Night"! 

Thing is; a week before his fight, the 25 year old McGregor picked up a welfare check for US$235. The fighter was in seriously training and as such was unable to settle into a steady job. So the man was on welfare and it's not a stretch to say that McGregor's currently promising MMA career would not be so promising if there was no welfare in Ireland. He would have to work and train at the same time which is no ideal when you are looking to enter the biggest MMA organization in the world.

Now before you think this is an isolated case; it is not. Go to Youtube and look for the Welsh Maradona. That guy was on welfare as well, but now he's a performer who has went to Dubai (paid) and met the real Diego Maradona. I think a lot of people in Singapore need to think about that before commenting that there's no good thing that can come out of having welfare.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Comics this week

Demon Knights #19- In my last review of Demon Knights, I noted that artist Bernard Chang’s work is very inconsistent. In many ways, I was right but #19 showed how good he is when he is on-form! With the Demon Knights back together again, they made quick work of Cain’s vampire army. In fact, they made such quick work of the vampire army I had to do a double take to make sure I didn’t miss anything. L mean after several issues of building up what a threat Cain and his horde were, writer Robert Venditti (for some reason) had the Demon Knights dispatch the army in a few pages. Why? I mean talk about not making sense (no, the pages where the Shining Knight sacrificing himself to Cain for the quest of the Holy Grail does not count). Luckily, the art of Chang saved the day. His work on the battle scenes in this issue, especially the combine magic scene of Etrigan and Madame Xanadu, were vastly better than the work he did in the last issue. I just hope he can keep this level of work up.

Threshold #4- Spoilers! Don't you just hate them! For the past month, DC has been having foldout cover on their comics and on the cover of Threshold this issue, there was a big spoiler on it. I feel sorry for writer Keith Griffen. He had slowly constructed the story, and then delivered the coup de grace at the very end when a big-time villain showed up to liven the story. Unfortunately, the surprise was spoiled by the foldout cover in front. Ouch! I truly feel sorry for Griffen; it was a great surprise in an excellent story that was undone by a cover he had no control over. In fact, the entire issue was excellent. The back-up Larfleeze story was marvellous with the breakout star being Star Grave, the space butler. More of this and Threshold will be the sleeper hit of the year. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What Outrage?

As everyone in Singapore expected, the Singapore's High Court rejected a petition to repeal Section 377A, a law in Singapore that makes it sex between men a crime. Recently, two male partners launched a petition that challenge the law. As widely expected, the High Court rejected the petition.

Reports on the internet state that there was outrage at the ruling. What outrage? Seriously, outside some activists, who is outraged at the ruling? Hell, I think most Singaporeans are happy with the ruling. In fact, I would argue that this petition should never have reached the High Court in the first place.

Most Singaporeans still view homosexuality as a big no-no and the ruling on the petition came as no surprise to anyone who pay any attention to Singapore. Not only is the law popular in Singapore; legally speaking, the petition had no chance. Section 377A is a law dates back all the way to British colonial rule and the courts were never going to change an old law that is highly popular in Singapore. It's just not going to happen.

Rights activists may reacted with indignation after the ruling but for the ordinary Singaporean on the street? There is nothing extraordinary, controversial or even remotely questionable about the ruling. Cause it's one he fully supports.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"One-time" Password

When Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) was released by BioWare, people were of the thinking that it would be the next blockbuster MMORPG. There were good reasons for the thinking; a noted developer, a famed IP and a rabid fanbase. There was good reason to believe SWTOR would be the prophesized World of Warcraft killer.

That has not happened.

However a year on, SWTOR has done well enough to warrant an expansion. For some reason, Bioware is only releasing the expansion in digital format but okay, I can live with it. However what I have an issue with is the fact that whenever I login to the game, I am now required to key in a “one-time” password that Bioware sent to my email account.

And this happen EVERYTIME I login! Note to Bioware: It's not a "one-time" password when I have to do it everytime I login!

Why? SWTOR already changed the login from our email address to our account name; they already require us to have 5 security questions; now they still need a “one-time” password everytime we login? What the hell for?

Now SWTOR's struggle has been well-documented in the MMORPG community, if Bioware do not want to chase this gamer, they need to get rid of this “one-time” password requirement. I’m not willing to put up with it for long.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lady Margret Thatcher Dies

Lady Margret Thatcher, Britain's first female premier, died peacefully yesterday at the age of 87. The passionate leader was the British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 and often divided opinion on her place in history.

To her loyalist, she was the one who made the hard decision and made Great Britain great again. To her critics, she was a leader who did more harm than good especially in her economic policies which created a massive divide in British society. But no matter where they stand on her, the British people seem to have called a truce on her at her passing. 

Now I’m no fan of Margret Thatcher but this is the way to treat a former leader. No matter what your opinion of her, this is not the time to argue about her place in history. She was the former leader of the country and the British people are doing the right thing by mourning her first. There's time for arguments later.

Friday, April 5, 2013

He Waited Too Long

As Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that he is "cautiously optimistic" of a "big" win at the Malaysian General Election probably to be held later this month, two questions have dominated. One; will the opposition win and their leader, Anwar Ibrahim, finally become Prime Minister? Two; has PM Najib waited too long?

The first question can only be answered on Election Day, after the results comes out, but the second question is easier to answer. Yes, he has waited too long.

Personally, I don't think there's too much doubt about that. PM Najib came to power after ousting his predecessor Abdullah Badawi in April 2009. This was just after Badawi had won an election, but without a two-thirds majority in 2008. Everyone was expecting PM Najib to go to the polls again to get a mandate to rule but fearful of a strong opposition, he never did. Now, the term of the government is almost over and he has no choice but to call an election.

Let me be clear on this; I don't think PM Najib has called the election because he wanted to. He did it because he has too. He just can't wait any longer. State assemblies has been dissolved because their terms are up and it force PM Najib's hand. If he could, I believe he would have tried to wait even longer. Many, including me, will say he has already waited too long. 

In many ways, it is understandable. PM Najib is not one to take unnecessary chances and had used the time to shore up his position. He is now the undisputed leader of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party and his own popularity among Malaysians is at an all time high. However, it has not been all smooth sailing for him. Try as he might, PM Najib has been unable to quell the internal factional struggles within his own UMNO party and he has also been unable to do anything about corruption and the rising cost of living, both bugbears of voters.

However, the biggest problem for him to wait as long as he did to call the election was, by waiting as long as he did, the opposition has time to get ready. Anwar has not been idle either. The element of surprise is non-existence and thanks to the smell of victory, the opposition is stronger and more united than ever. Worse is that Malaysian voters now have the view that PM Najib waited so long because he is afraid of losing to the opposition and are now more likely to vote for the opposition as there's a real chance they could win.  

The view might be correct. By the end of the election, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957, might be in the opposition and Malaysia might have a new government. If that happens, PM Najib can only blame himself. He had just waited too long. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Comics this week

Earth 2 #11- Remember my review of #10 where I started by openly wondering about Karel Wotan being a guy? Well, it seems there's a good reason for that. Writer James Robinson gave a good explanation of it has he dumped the back-story of the character on us. The info dump was a bit of a stretch as the villain was talking to the Flash's mother, however the issue on the whole was still entertaining because the scenes inside the tower. Artist Nicola Scott did some excellent work it this issue. The only other problem I had with this issue is the end where Mister Miracle shown up. Frankly I have to wonder the need to add even more characters to the mix we already have, but if there's one thing he has proven so far, it's that Robinson has a plan.

Green Lantern #19- Finally! After so many parts of the “Warth of The First Lantern” crossover, the First Lantern finally did something that makes him a bad guy. No; fooling around with the memories of the various Lanterns don't count. Outside that, it's good to see Sinestro back in prime position. Too stubborn to quit, Sinestro is giving the First Lantern more problem than he had with all the others and writer Geoff Johns is, thankfully, milking it for all its worth. I won't say it's back on track but the crossover is looking up.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Finding Dory

"Finding Nemo" is easily one of the greatest animation film in history. The movie about a clown fish going out of the Great Barrier Reef to find his captured son won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, and is currently the fourth highest grossing animated film worldwide with more than $920 million.

This despite the fact that it was released in 2003!

Now 10 years after the movie, Disney-Pixar has just announced a sequel to the classic. Called "Finding Dory", the main character will be the absent-minded tang fish "Dory," which was voiced by Ellen DeGeneres in the first film.

Well, it's about time. With 4 Kungfu Panda movies coming out in the coming years, it's about time some of the older animated movies get their due. I mean "Finding Nemo" is a classic; if any animated movie deserved a sequel, it's this one.

Now if only they'll do one for "The Incredibles". (No, direct-to-rentals don't count)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Logic Says Otherwise

Today on the first page of the Straits Times, there's a proud proclamation that the "cooling measure" imposed by the Singapore government has rein in housing prices in the country. The Housing and Development Board (HDB) proudly said that prices for both HDB resale flats and private homes grew at a slower pace, at a gentle 0.5% increase in prices.

Sorry, but I do not agree that the cooling measures has worked at all. I do not agree because an increase in prices increase in prices. The cooling measures were designed to lower prices so that they would be more affordable to Singaporeans. Housing prices in Singapore are still going up. Logic says that if housing prices are still going up, then the cooling measures are not working! 

Simple right? I mean the Resale Price Index (RPI) flash estimates for the first quarter 2013 is at an all-time high. Clearly, housing prices are continuing to climb.Ordinary families are still having to take 20-30 years loans to finance their flats. That means the property cooling measures have not been working!  

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Soon I Will Be Invincible" by Austin Grossman

I haven't been reading a lot of books recently so I decided to do a review of a book I read some time ago. "Soon I Will Be Invincible" is a novel by Austin Grossman about superheroes and supervillains. As a big fan of comics, I just had to pick it up when I saw it at the bookstore.

The story starts with the disappearance of one the most powerful superhero in the world, CoreFire. As the superhero group he belongs to, The New Champions, investigate his disappearance, they also bring in two new heroines into the team, Lily and Fatale, to replace Corefire and another heroine who was recently killed.

One of the main suspects in the disappearance of CoreFire is his arch-nemesis, Dr. Impossible. Incarcerated in a maximum security prison, Dr. Impossible was interrogated but soon escaped and then initiate an attempt at world domination, the thirteen of his career.

From there, the author used two alternating characters to narrate the story and the novel is told from their point-of-view. The first narrator is a rookie hero Fatale, the female cyborg rookie of The New Champions, and  the other is the supervillain, Dr. Impossible. In between the story of world domination by the supervillain, we also get flashbacks to earlier times of both characters as well as what makes them the hero (and villain) they are.

Now I have read some superhero novels before, but "Soon I Will Be Invincible" is one of the best of the genre. The story uses some standard comic book story elements, like superheroes fighting supervillains, but it also inject different elements. Fatale's routine of maintenance of her cybernetic body and Dr. Impossible's battle and understanding of his own psychological problems were not things you would see in a comic book but in a novel, it works.

Also, the scenes that deals with the personal lives of the superheroes, how they cope with their powers and the effects their celebrity has on them and the people around them, works very well. Grossman did a fine job writing about the link between power and identity. Dr. Impossible had a powerful scene about the number of beings with superpowers in the world and linked how super-intelligent super-beings like him are far more likely to be villains than heroes. It wasn't just powerful stuff, it was also unusual and very smart. Basically, it was fun and unique, and in the superhero genre, unique isn't the easiest thing to do.

Also fun was the character of Dr. Impossible. He was without question the star of the show. Now although villains are almost always more interesting than heroes, but Dr. Impossible was a cut above. His desire for power and his internal struggles with his disease" shines.

Of course, the novel wasn't perfect. "Soon I Will Be Invincible" is Austin Grossman's first novel and it shows. The novel was stuffed with any and every comic book stereotype you can think of and many times, it seems he was trying too hard. The New Champions was almost a carbon copy of the Justice League and almost all the scenarios could be traced to stories in comics.

However, the book is a fun read and it has some cute twist in it. I mean "Malign Hypercognition Disorder", an "evil genius" syndrome? Now that's fun.