cover image Archvillain


Barry Lyga, Scholastic Press, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-545-19649-9

Comic book fans in particular will appreciate this clever origin story, first in a new series. Twelve-year-old prankster Kyle is making mischief at the middle school football field the night a plasma storm falls to earth. After being "bathed in the energy of the storm," he gains amazing superpowers, like heightened intelligence and the ability to fly. He later learns that a boy was found after the storm. Everyone in town assumes this stranger is "a normal kid with superpowers and amnesia," anointing "Mighty Mike" a hero after he uses his powers to extinguish a fire and save kids' lives. But as his memories of the plasma storm return, jealous Kyle is suspicious of the do-gooder's motives, believing it his duty "to expose him for what he is and drive him away." Lyga (Goth Girl Rising) laces his story with ample humor, from the persnickety AI sidekick Kyle makes from his iPod to his failed Pants Laser prank. Readers will find plenty to ponder, from guessing Mike's true motivations to debating whether Kyle is a hero—or a villain in the making. Ages 9–12. (Oct.)