Author: Eric Locsh
Originally Self-Published in 2021
Review by Miriam Atkinson
The Night Howler by Eric Locsh is a surprisingly fast-paced short story which explores the superhero genre in an interesting and fun new way. In a world where real life comic book-style heroes and villains are the norm, the Night Howler is an aging batman-esque superhero who is desperately trying to stay popular and at the top of his game. This is made all the more difficult by the presence of a younger generation of heroes, like his protégée Prince Vulture, and his massive social media following.
Despite only being thirteen pages in length, Locsh manages to pack a lot of action, character development and plot twists into the story. The narrative is quick but its pace never feels rushed.
In a nod to the classic superhero comic books, Locsh includes a lot of tropes typically associated with the style. These include: brightly coloured superhero costumes, rooftop fights, dramatic chases through the city, high-tech gadgets, clever one-liners/catchphrases and many more. I believe Locsh must have had a lot of enjoyment trying to include all of the different elements within the story and it was equally as entertaining trying to spot them all as a reader.
In The Night Howler I love that heroes and villains with costumes and codenames, who fight on rooftops and chase each other in flying vehicles, are just a normal part of society in Spinner City. In the scenes set at the police station neither Detective Ramirez nor her officers are surprised by the presence of such individuals, which to me implies that this is a regular occurrence. I also enjoyed the fun parody of the younger and new generation of heroes, such as Prince Vulture, essentially being like today’s social media influencers.
With all of these entertaining elements I surprised when the latter-half of the story delved into what was actually quite a deep and, at times, dark plotline. The Night Howler explores just how far a person would be willing to go in order to remain popular and relevant in the eyes of their peers – with dramatic consequences.
Locsh has stated that The Night Howler is only the first part of a larger story. If all of the stories have a similar level of entertainment, action and interesting plotlines then I honestly believe that this could be a fantastic series.
‘The Night Howler’ was published on Reedsy Discovery in September 2021. This review is also available on Discovery’s website.
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