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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Magenta Skies by J.R. Manga opens with a fascinating glimpse into the journal entries of a test subject named Brandon Slade, a gang enforcer with superb martial arts skills, a high IQ, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia. Brandon is part of a concentrated effort in developing a gifted population. Vile experiments are being conducted in order to prepare Earth for serious threats that extend outside the planet. Synthesized blood of non-human specimens is injected into human guinea pigs, and it has been yielding favorable results. Yet this experiment comes at a costly price. As metahumans are beginning to spread, what they have become may no longer be what those who created them had originally expected. Slade may not be everyone’s expectations of what a hero should be, but he has to work with others like him if there is to be any sign of hope for humanity.
Magenta Skies is not your run-of-the-mill superhero reading fare like most traditional comic books. This novel takes a different and bold route by tackling superhero issues and their impact on national security and the socio-political landscape. J.R. Manga executes this by writing with an up-close and personal angle on the experiment subjects that will make you ponder and question if having great power should truly come with great responsibility—even if those who have it are having trouble battling their own demons. Manga has definitely found the genre that he is comfortable with as he writes with ease and understands his characters inside and out. This is a superhero novel packed with adventure, intrigue, and some melodramatic moments, and it is not afraid to explore the socio-pathological issues that metahumans commonly face. Yes, even superheroes get sick too. To anyone who wants to delve into a different superhero tale, this is the one I recommend you to try.