From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain

Minister Faust, Author . Del Rey $13.95 (390p) ISBN 978-0-345-46637-2

Masquerading as a self-help book for superheroes, this sharp satire of caped crusaders hides a deeper critique of individual treatment versus social injustice. Faust (The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad ) provides funny and knowing caricatures of the famous figures of American comic books via an extended therapy session by Dr. Eva Brain-Silverman. Analyzing their various mental hangups, Dr. Brain attempts to help heroes like irascible billionaire crime-fighter Festus Piltdown III ("Flying Squirrel") overcome the rejection of his foster ward, Tran Chi Hanh ("Chip Monk"). But African-American hero Philip Kareem Edgerton ("X-Man") resists, insisting that recent events in "sunny Los Ditkos" are signs of a coup within F*O*O*J ("Fantastic Order of Justice") and not RNPN ("Racialized Narcissistic Projection Neurosis"). Faust's well-aimed jabs spare no super sacred cows nor many pop idols and pychobabbling media stars. Underneath the humor, careful readers will find uncomfortable parallels to real-world urban tragedies in the novel's "July 16 Attacks," where Faust gives a double meaning to the "Crisis of Infinite Dearths." (Jan. 30)

Reviewed on: 12/04/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
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