Guest Review: Good as Gold: A Villainous Love Story by T.J. Land

Being the most powerful superhero in the world can get lonely.

Ask the Golden Ranger. He’s still struggling to make friends after landing on Earth two years ago, even now that he’s become a member of the Remarkables. Humans are just so complicated, with their odd aversion to public nudity, their obsession with sex, and their temperamental genitals.

Thank goodness for his villains. Sure, they’re crooks and it’s his job to thwart them, but at least they offer him a chance for social interaction. And they’re all pretty cool, as villains go. Henry X has a gun that can fire anything from exploding bullets to robot bees, and he's also got these incredible biceps and warm brown eyes – not that the Golden Ranger cares about stuff like that. Light Brigade can create holograms, plus he’s handsome and snarky and covered in tattoos – again, not that the Golden Ranger cares. The Sash can use his clothing as a weapon, which isn’t really fair seeing as how his slinky body would be an effective weapon all by itself. Which isn’t something the Golden Ranger cares about. At all.

It’s possible that the other Remarkables are right when they accuse the Golden Ranger of being a little too intrigued by his rogues gallery. But he thinks they’re just jealous. Even so, when they tell him that Henry X, Light Brigade and the Sash are working for someone who might be a threat to the whole city, the Golden Ranger knows he needs to learn the truth. And what better way to do that than by adopting a civilian disguise and getting to know his villains personally? It’s a brilliant plan. Nothing can go wrong.

65K, M/M/M/M, standalone.

Reviewer: R *A Reader Obsessed*

Well that was certainly different!

Imagine a world where superheroes on a daily basis, go against their set group of villains, trying to thwart whatever current scheme they’re hatching. It’s basically a gentlemen’s agreement - fighting crime/doing crime - a delicate balance of not too much and not too little, keeping the cycle going in order to live to fight another day.

First, you have Golden Ranger, who’s not from these parts. He’s actually an alien who left his planet in search of a purpose, and thus picked Earth to use his indestructible self to do good. This is a guy who’s a little naive, a little innocent, one who doesn’t fully grasp the nuances of human nature but is so eager to learn and acclimate. As a member of the superhero team, the Remarkables, Ranger has been tasked to keep in line three villains, who each have extraordinary, mysterious weapons to aid their escapades. In order to learn more about them, he dons a civilian disguise to covertly do recon.

Funnily enough, Ranger is not fooling anybody, let alone his three villains. These guys are simply ordinary men wanting more out of life, whether that be notoriety, a sense of purpose, or simply to belong. They too, have vulnerabilities and flaws, revealing personal facets that definitely blur the line that sharply delineates “good” from “evil”. As these four dance and interact, all of them come to know each other better, not only through their masked identities, but their true selves outside their disguises. Understandably, feelings change, loyalty develops, and their dynamic slowly evolves beyond their initial fractious beginning, as each is lonely and yearning for more.

So to make a long story even longer, there’s definitely a certain kind of interplay taking place between all the superheroes and their nemeses, creating a somewhat orchestrated environment of peace. However, there’s unseen forces and players manipulating the situation and purposefully influencing these 4 men and how they do their “jobs”. What results is a very complicated relationship that can often be antagonistic, intense, and definitely proprietary, as they ultimately band together to fight a common foe.

I’m finding it difficult to quantify or explain this story, except that it was interesting and unique, with some fun and funny, lending a comic book vibe or oddly enough, akin to the cartoon movie The Incredibles. I was consistently entertained despite no overt smexiness and the need of a good edit. In return though, there is some sweet romance and carnal, emotional scenes that involve all 4 players in various different groupings, and ultimately encompassing the full M/M/M/M aspect. It was well done and totally plausible. Well... plausible in a world of superheroes and villains. Overall, if you want something different and like this particular genre, I don’t think you could go wrong.

Thanks to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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