In a world filled with constant examinations, re-examinations and re-interpretations of what it means to be a superhero and what the role of a superhero is, it might seem very easy to dismiss Resistance as just another try-hard “darker and edgier” modern superhero fable. However, author Samit Basu carries out a wonderfully well devised and explored world, where superheroes feel very much as real as they’re probably ever going to be.
Resistance takes place in the near future, 12 years after all the passengers of a flight were mysteriously granted superpowers mid-flight. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason behind who got which powers, and in the years to follow, many more areas in the world gifted individuals with the same strange effect. The novel doesn’t take time to demonstrate this event, but instead skillfully starts off the action in the future world itself, where the effects are shown of how this has all changed society. It’s a masterful use of “showing, rather than telling” in the world of exposition.
The main plot concerns itself with a rather dilapidated Justice League type group struggling to deal with a prophecy made that the world would end in a few days. What is handled extremely well is that each of the characters are not simply expys of well-known superheroes, but are strongly individual in their own right, and for having so many characters, Basu manages to characterize many of them very intensely for the amount of space he had to do it. From their powers themselves to their motivations, all the superheroes and super villains were masterfully, and often horrifically or comically crafted.
I hope Basu returns to this world he has created, it has too much potential to simply be dropped. It was one of my favorite superhero related novels of all time, and in fact one of the best new books I’ve read all year.