Warning: The content reviewed is for mature audiences only.
When we think of superheroes, we fantasize about beings of magnificent strength, courage, intelligence, wisdom, and cunning incomparable to our own. They come from different words, wearing suits of armor, protecting the world and universe, always putting others’ needs before their own. They are what we strive to be, right? Raymond Embrack would have you think differently. Big Superhero Action opens your eyes to a stark reality of what the world could look like if superheroes really did exist. For, as he says, “With superheroes . . . comes super villains.” You cannot separate the two.
In Big Superhero Action, the main country has a city where all of the superheroes live called Brutalia. Only in Brutalia can their superpowers exist; however, one boy finds a way to fly out and use his powers outside of Brutalia, and pandemonium ensues. Big Superhero Action is not your childhood fantasy of superherodom by any account; it is wrought with descriptive violence, sexually explicit language, sexual scenarios, bullying of a child for their sexuality, and adult language. The writing is jarring and harsh for both the superheroes and the supervillians; neither are spared as living in the softer light, even if anything they often come across as equals that have just been labeled differently. From this insider’s view, Embrack shows you the death and destruction that the superhero causes, their bloodlust and sexuality – all things I have, to be quite honest, never truly thought about in great depth. Of course, I may have thought about Lois and Clark, but not whether or not they are into beastiality . . . and that is the kind of detail Big Superhero Action delves into – the nit and grit. It is undeniably the most sensorial experience I have ever had reading a book – every crushing blow, broken rib, cracked jaw, rip of flesh as the blade saws threw, the touch of a person’s hand on another’s collarbone . . . shivers down the spine . . . I felt everything, be it curious, enticing, or horrifying. I felt it all, and Embrack never let down.
In the end, I wonder – was it worth it? For some readers, I think the answer will be a resounding yes. For others, this will be a book you might want to consider before you take the leap. While I appreciate the greater questions that are raised – the world that Embrack created and the vividness with which he paints the world – I felt the explicitness of the sexual acts and some of the violence overshadowed the greater message. Some of it is necessary to the message – the idea that the superheroes’ presence inevitably corrupted the very world they are there to protect; however, the detail of personal masturbatory practices of the characters felt gratuitous and out of place, taking away from the overall plot and confusing the story line. With the complexity of the storyline and number of characters, the less unnecessary scenes the better. Personal taste aside, I still truly believe that this is an important piece of literature in the superhero lexicon for this modern era and should be owned by any comic lover and/or historian of superhero portrayals in society. Raymond Embrack electrifies your senses in a never-ending thrill ride that is Big Superhero Action.