Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the next installment of my ongoing review of Lincoln Crisler’s collection of superhero fiction, Corrupts Absolutely?. Today I look at “Gone Rogue” by Wayne Helge, the story of a sidekick living in the shadow of his mentor and what happens when that mentor becomes preoccupied with being a celebrity.

Z-pak was your average high school student who happened to have a talent for hacking into cell phones. When he finds incriminating pictures of a certain superhero, he uses the knowledge to his advantage and becomes Zooster’s sidekick. Zooster teaches the youth how to fight, observe a scene, and be a hero until the day he finally lets Z-pak take on a small time villain on his own. After that event though, sending Z-pak out on his own becomes something of a habit, freeing his time up to sleep with women, attend costume design meetings, sleep with women, talk to the press, and sleep with women. Eventually, it is only Z-pak doing all the work while Zooster takes all the credit… until one incident leaves several people dead. Zooster is more than ready to give credit to his sidekick then. The event solves something of a dilemma Z-pak had been having though. As a full-fledged hero, he needed to choose an arch-nemesis.

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This story recalls the campy feel of pulp fiction and radio dramas from to which modern comic books and superheroes owe their existence. It also tells an excellent tale of the scorn one person can feel after being alienated by someone they look up to. I give “Gone Rogue” 

Corrupts Absolutely?, edited by Lincoln Crisler, remains at a 4.5 alien head rating. There is only one story left to review and I doubt that anything could make the score of this anthology drop below a readable level. I still strongly recommend this book to fans of anyone who loves comic books and superheroes.

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