The Darker Mask: Heroes From the Shadows

Gary Phillips, Author, Christopher Chambers, Author . Tor $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-1851-0

Themed along the grayer areas of superhero fiction, this anthology of 18 original stories nonetheless covers a wide spectrum. One standout is “Switchback,” by Ann Nocenti (Daredevil ), in which teenage Mimi must try to cope with both her strange mind-control powers and the shards of familial ties that still bind her to her broken family. In “Tat Master,” Edgar award–winner Naomi Hirahara (Snakeskin Shamisen ) introduces tattoo artist Eye, who discovers the ability to bring her designs to life while on the run from her abusive boyfriend. Shamus winner Peter Spiegelman (Black Maps ) pulls off a classic tale of superheroics meeting reality with “In Vino, Veritas,” delving into a simple tale of ethics and love through the viewpoint of lie-detecting Veritas. Deceptively simple and entertaining while never skimping on serious topics, this tight anthology will satisfy any superhero enthusiast. (Aug.)