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A Review of: The Infinite League by John Yeo Jr.
The Infinite League is a contemporary super-hero adventure about a former police officer who ended up involved in the death of a popular heroine by pure accident. Emily Watts was not just a former cop she is also a single mother who is devoted to her child, yet facing being separated from her child by being sentenced to prison for her part in the death of the heroine Andromeda. The government offers Emily a second option, but that option involves lying to the world and pretending to be Andromeda. When faced with the choice of pretending to be Andromeda or losing contact with her child she makes the choice that any parent would.
The Infinite League was a very enjoyable book to read because it was so different from the other superhero movies, TV shows, comics, and books. Instead of focusing on the hero, the book focuses on an ex-cop that becomes involved in a conspiracy involving superheroes. The fact that this was a superhero book geared towards adults instead of children and teens was a wonderful as I am a huge fan of the superhero genre, but so many of the books in the genre are not meant for adults. Emily Watts was an easy character to like with her love for her child, her ability to react to the unpredictable, and the way that she handles herself in dangerous situations. Overall, I have to say that I was blown away with how much I truly enjoyed reading this book in comparison to the other superhero books I have read; I really hope the author decides to write more adult superhero books with female protagonists!
Interview with John Yeo Jr.
What inspired you to write this book?
For the last fifteen years, I’ve dabbled mostly in self-published graphic novels. But you have to recognize your strengths after awhile, and I realized that I’m a much better writer than I am an artist. THE INFINITE LEAGUE is very much rooted in comic book lore, of course, and it was originally intended to be a comic book mini-series. But when I re-visited the project last year, I realized there was so much potential to be a great novel that I decided to go that direction. As a matter of fact, most of the books I’ve written already were originally envisioned as comic book projects. You know, before I realized that I’m not the best artist in the world.
Did you ever consider writing yourself into your book? If yes did you and if no why did you refrain?
No, not this one. I’ve definitely thrown characters into my stories that shared a lot of my personality traits before. But if you made a movie of this book, there’s not a lot of characters I’d be playing. Maybe “Scientist #2” or “Random Passerby in Chapter 4.”
Which part was the hardest for you to write and why?
This is the first book I’ve written in first-person point of view. Not only that, but the protagonist of the story is a thirty-year-old woman. I personally have never been a bitter, sarcastic, potty-mouthed divorced woman before….so that was challenging to make sure I kept Emily speaking in “her” voice, and not my own. The book hadn’t started out that way, but when I realized that Emily was present in every single chapter of the book, it made sense to make her the narrator.
Which part was the easiest for you to write and why?
The conversations, which is usually the biggest heart of my stories. There are great action beats, and some truly shocking moments, and those are always fun to write. But some of the little moments of two characters just talking to each other, and you get to find out what makes them tick and what their sense of humor (or lack of) is like, that’s always been easy for me to write.
Which character was the hardest to write and why?
There were many characters that were hard to write. Emily encounters several people of different ethnicities and backgrounds in her adventure. A Muslim woman, an Irish thug, an African-American colonel, an extremely old and crusty scientist, a terrorist from the Middle-East, as well as an assortment of eccentric and dangerous people with powers. Keeping their characters unique to each other, yet true to their backgrounds, took a lot of re-reading, editing and proofing. Hopefully, I did my job.
Which character was the easiest to write and why?
Emily, my lead character, by far. When I first started laying out the book, I knew what was going to happen in every chapter. I just wasn’t sure how to narrate the book. Once I realized that Emily would be doing all my talking for me, and after I had established what sort of character she was, everything came easy. I just filtered all of the action from her eyes and her mouth. Her very impatient, crass, angry mouth.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Obviously, Emily is my favorite. I’m not sure she’s someone I’d want to be in a serious relationship with, but she’s definitely someone I’d go drinking with. She’s the girl you’d want behind you if a bar fight went down. But a strong second is Cassiopeia, another character on the team that Emily is forced to work with. Because of the nature of the story, their relationship starts off extremely strained, to say the least. But I loved how it developed, and I hope my readers do, too.
Were there any characters that you did not like?
Do you mean, characters that I didn’t personally like as human beings----or characters that I wasn’t happy with how they came out from a writer’s point of view? I would have liked to develop some of the costumed criminals a bit more, people like Arctic Annie and Adrenaline, for example. But if I gave ample backstory to every character that interested me, the book would have been twice as long. There is one character that was later revealed to be a complicated asshole with a tragic background, and we won’t talk about them. Spoilers, you know.
What made you choose to write a book on this topic?
Traditionally, my books have focused on fantasy, sci-fi or supernatural elements. But I’m always looking for different genres to dabble in, and I’ve always been fond of comic books, and the mythology surrounding them. There’s a shortage of super hero epics featuring leading ladies (notwithstanding the phenomenal Wonder Woman film, which had just started production when I began writing this book.)
Hopefully, this adventure gives readers something they’ve never seen before.
Did you base any of the characters off of real people?
Not specifically. But I’ve written and illustrated many small press comic books that generated a bunch of interesting characters. I’ve also game-mastered a role playing game set in a super-hero world, populated by many unique heroes created by different friends. A bunch of those obscure characters actually appear in the book, with the permission of those friends that originally created them. Absolutely no knowledge of anything I’ve written before is required to enjoy this book, but it’s a nice Easter egg for those close friends of mine.
What made you decide to become an author?
I wrote a short story in second grade, at the urging of my elementary school teacher. That teacher prepared the book in spiral bound format, and made it available to all the other kids as a book they could check out and read. For other kids to be reading something I wrote made me feel like a little celebrity, but the joy of actually creating something that other people seemed to appreciate really resonated with me. I’ve been hooked on the experience ever since. Having a total stranger tell you they liked something you created is one of the most natural highs I think I could ever experience.
What advice would you give to your readers?
Keep reading, obviously. Any book, if not necessarily mine. Respect others, try not to do harm unto others, make the world a better place just by being in it.
What type of person do you believe would like your book the most?
This book is going to appeal to women who have been pushed down, taken advantage of, or are feeling directionless. It’s a power fantasy, but having power given to you doesn’t immediately solve all your problems. Fans of super-hero fantasy, particularly people who love ensemble tales like X-Men, Avengers or Justice League ought to dig it to.
What/Who inspired you to write this book?
Marv Wolfman, Neil Gaiman, Mark Waid, Brian K Vaughn and Geoff Johns number among my most reliable and favorite storytellers in this genre. if my books are a fraction as enjoyable as some of the tales they've spun, then I'd be a very proud fellow.