Disclaimer: I was furnished with an unsolicited advance copy of The Multiverse of Max Tovey by the publisher in exchange for a candid, unpaid appraisal.
Superhero, one of Blake Snyder’s ten narrative models, accounts for so much more than the four-color fantasies of costumed crime-fighters. These stories are, at their most fundamental, about a special someone—“Not quite human nor quite god” (Blake Snyder, Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies, [Studio City: Michael Wiese Productions, 2007], 249)—endowed with extraordinary powers, with which comes the unwanted burden of extraordinary responsibility, who inadvertently provokes jealousy or disdain from us commoners, typically a nemesis that seeks to exploit the superhero’s Achilles heel (and they all have one). These are the tales of Superman and Lex Luthor, Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty, Neo and Agent Smith, Dracula and Van Helsing, Simba and Scar, Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham. “Real-life Superheroes” the likes of Jackie Robinson in 42 and Alan Turing in The Imitation Game also fit the bill, as do small-screen saviors Jack Bauer (24) and Olivia Pope (Scandal).
At its most emotionally elemental, Snyder sums up the genre as such: “It’s not easy being special” (ibid.).