This first volume of a trilogy introduces Stanly, an introspective loner and pop culture geek, who acquires superhero powers on his sixteenth birthday. So far, so typical for this genre, except for a most unusual wisecracking sidekick, who just happens to be a talking dog. Spotting the cultural references within the engaging interplay and snappy dialogue ensures this is will appeal to a wider age range than the target young adult audience.
'Right. Question one of eight. Your favourite episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?'
I liked that he assumed I had one. 'Um ... that’s really difficult.'
'Good answer. That gets you a pass, but just out of interest? Could you suggest one?'
'Um ... I like the musical ... and "Conversations with Dead People" ... um... 'Becoming'. Definitely.'
'Part One or Part Two?'
'Do I have to choose?'
Skank nodded . 'A wise choice. Personally I would go with "Hush" but that’s just me.' He stroked his beard. 'Question two. Your favourite genre film?'
I couldn’t answer that. 'I can’t answer that.'
He nodded again. 'Good. I couldn’t either.' He cleared his throat. 'Question three. Best James Bond?'
'Excellent. Daniel Craig would have got you a pass, but Connery scores higher. Roger Moore would have meant a premature end to this edition of Genre Mastermind.'