Review: Hot Air: A Villainous Love Story by T.J. Land

Bluster is the most incompetent supervillain around. He’s a klutz. He’s forgetful. His schemes never work. He never remembers to plan his escape, which doesn’t matter given that most superheroes don’t even bother sending him to prison anymore. Hardly anyone takes him seriously. That’s why he decided to retire a while ago. It had nothing to do with the fact that his handsome nemesis, Judge Justice, was forced to hand in his superhero license after finally breaking one too many rules. And Bluster’s decision to give up his retirement on the same day Judge Justice gets his license back is purely coincidental.

Judge Justice is the toughest superhero around. He’s edgy. He’s grim. He wears a lot of leather. As far as he’s concerned, supervillains are criminals, nothing more and nothing less. They deserve everything that’s coming to them. Sure, maybe he’s got a reputation for being harsh. So what? His methods work. When you’re dealing with a town full of caped crooks, no amount of force is excessive…except maybe when it comes to Bluster. That guy’s hopeless. It’s not that the Judge has a soft spot for him, but anyone can see that Bluster’s a bigger threat to himself than to the city. Which isn’t to say the Judge isn’t outraged when Bluster comes out of retirement the same day he gets his license back. He’s furious. Not even a tiny bit thrilled, because he’s not one of those imbeciles who actually likes his nemesis. He’s a professional. That’s why, when the Judge learns that Bluster’s in danger, he immediately appoints himself his guardian. After all, it’s a hero’s duty to protect the weak.

Bluster, however, has other ideas… 

Adorably silly...
Utterly ridiculous...
Fabulously funny...

...and just flat out fun.

Judge Justice, the meanest superhero in town, is called back to action after a year of being suspended for getting a bit too friendly with his fists.  Bluster, his archnemesis who went into retirement the day Justice was suspended, can't let the chance of him finding a new nemesis ever happen so he dons his purple supervillain suit and heads back into action as well. 

I had a ball reading this story!  The over-the-top plot and the snarky banter were just the tip of the iceberg.  While the storyline is intriguing enough to have caught my attention, it was the characters and their interactions with each other that really carried the story.  From the surface, this story looks to be just a fun romp filled with shenanigans and ridiculousness but on a closer look you find an amazing amount of depth to the characters.

While I loved Judge Justice and all his curmudgeonly ways, always growling and sniping at everyone, I adored Bluster.  Bluster is my spirit animal.  He's older, out of shape, has a squinty eye and a penchant for getting himself into the most ridiculous situations.  He can't spell to save his life and he talks to anything.  Seriously.  Cats, birds, zucchini... he can carry on a one-sided conversation like nobody's business.  His failure rate is exponential.  But does that keep him down?  No!  He just picks himself back up and charges right back into the fray.  He's pretty dang fearless.  He's also a bit of a conundrum.  He seems innocent and naive one minute and then wily and sharp-witted the next.

Keeping the pout going full throttle, he raised a thumb to his mouth and nibbled on the nail's edge, eyes flickering to the Leech and away again.  It was an old, favorite move of his, designed to send out the unambiguous message, 'Won't you heal my broken heart with your dick?'

My favorite moments by far are when the Judge and Bluster interact with each other.  Oh, the snark!  The banter!  I laughed so hard and so much while reading this I actually got a stitch in my side.  I could read their conversations for days and never tire of them.

"Don't worry, I can do this."  "The problem is that you've got a history of thinking you can do shit that you demonstrably cannot do.  Remember that time you tried to steal an armored truck?"  "That's not fair.  I was a kid then."  "You were thirty."

This was my first TJ Land story but I guarantee it won't be my last.  This was silly.  It was fun.  It was just what I needed to pull me out of the slump I was in.  I had a blast reading this.  I recommend this to those who like a bit of the ridiculous from time to time.  If you're a lover of shenanigans, you can't go wrong with this charming little tale.

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