Callie Bradford and Joannie Greene live in a world where Extrahumans not only exist but are sponsored, marketed Superheroes dedicated to saving the world from Supervillains. Trained from a young age by the Extrahuman Corps they are taught to believe in justice, peace and naturally the Corps way of life. ‘Iridium’ (aka Callie) and ‘Jet’ (aka Joannie) forge a friendship early on in their training despite having opposite powers of light and shadow. When Iridium goes rogue and Jet vows to do her duty and bring her in, Jet’s illusions of the Corps are shattered and the truth starts to come out. Jet and Iridium must decide if friendship will ultimately save or destroy them, and along with them, the rest of the world.
I’ve never really read comics, either as a kid or adult, certainly not the myriad superhero ones out there. I was aware of Superman, Batman etc but that was mainly through films and media. Black and White was a truly unique experience for me, a superhero urban fantasy novel that could easily have been a comic book. The sad thing is, if it had been in comic form, I would probably never have picked it up and I would have missed out on a great story. For me in a book, a lot more can be said and allows me to create my own vision of the characters without having the artwork force me down a particular visual path.
I was a little frustrated in the beginning that the perspective changed between characters a lot, and also jumped between time periods. As a result, I found it jerked me out of the story and hence didn’t engage me at first. As the book progressed, I realised it was actually very cleverly done, making you re-evaluate the characters constantly as each little piece of their past and present was revealed.
The superheroes and their powers were nicely written; some of the names must have been tongue in cheek, they certainly made me chuckle. The two main characters of Iridium and Jet were really well done with such different personalities yet also complementing each other.
As a collaboration, I felt it worked well. I couldn’t detect two different styles in the writing and at no point felt that there wasn’t just one voice.
All in all it was an entertaining and enjoyable story about superheroes, their world and two special people within it who are as different as night and day.
This is the first book in the Icarus Project series and it’s certainly left me looking forward to the next one.