Cold War Superheroes Frozen in Suffering

A review of Peter Darbyshire’s “The Last Love of the Infinity Age” in Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (ChiZine Publications, 2013)
By Derek Newman-Stille

Cover image of Imaginarium 2013 courtesy of ChiZine Publications

Cover image of Imaginarium 2013 courtesy of ChiZine Publications. Cover art by GMB Chomichuk

Many of those who grew up with comic books fantasize about a world full of superheroes… but what would that world really be like? Peter Darbyshire’s “The Last Love of the Infinity Age” explores a post apocalyptic superhero world. His world is frozen in a Cold War, suspended in time at a point of clash between superheroes and villains… and the unnamed protagonist just wants to get home to the love of his life. All electronics have been knocked out by a nuclear bomb and ice has covered the city… and the protagonist gets to watch as his world repeats horror over and over and he tries in vain to make his way out of the frozen zone.

The bomb and the ice are not what has frozen this world in time. It is ripped from time by a superhero also pining for a lost love, repeatedly tearing the world apart to try to rescue his lover who was killed in the nuclear blast. Trinity is the most powerful superhero, a living weapon, near impervious except for his emotions. Two characters, one powerless and one all powerful both obsessed with restoring their loved ones – Darbyshire contrasts the different ways that people cope with loss, either by destroying everything around them or continually seeking… and contrasts the dangers of power and what can be accomplished by those in positions of power when they suffer. Hope can be dangerous when it is wielded by those with power.

To discover more about Imaginarium 2013, visit ChiZine Publications’ website at http://chizinepub.com/books/imaginarium/imaginarium_2013.php . To find out more about Peter Darbyshire, visit his website at http://peterdarbyshire.com/ .

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