Nuklear Age

Grocer Man

Well-Known Member
Aug 24, 2006
a house
Has anyone read this? Basically, it's a superhero-based comedy in novel form, about incompetent heroes. Here's some character bios, copied from Wikipedia.

Nuklear Man
As the Golden Guardian, Nuklear Man stands for Truth, Justice, and the social order... that is when he isn't watching cartoons or otherwise distracted by bright shiny objects.
Originally found in the rubble of a nuclear attack on Metroville's power plant, this champion's appearance somehow averted disaster and absorbed the very explosion that caused his amnesia. He has no idea who he is, where he is from, or why he should care about anyone that isn't himself, but he has a heart of gold. Endowed with all the power of a sun, his powers manifest themselves in his super strength, near invulnerability, flight, and his Plazma Beams.

Atomik Lad
Virtually the only person who can keep Nuklear Man under a semblance of control, Atomik Lad is his sidekick with the unusual ability to manifest a raging "Atomik Field" that separates John Cohen (Atomik Lad's real name) from the rest of the world, granting him near invincibility, the ability to fly, and other similarly "heroish" traits. Adopted by the Golden Guardian after his parents were killed in an accident and whilst his powers raged out of control, Atomik Lad has been raised by Nuklear Man, despite the fact that he is mentally the more mature of the two.

Also known as the Iron Scotsman or the Surly Scot, Angus founded the Dwarven Warriors Guild, a world wide organization for heroes of great bravery but limited stature, after having been a success and failure in the Cereal Business, starting with a breakfast food containing over 100% sugar and ending with his proposal of Scottish Squishies, a cereal with haggis as a main ingredient. Spending the remainder of his fortune, Angus constructed an Iron: Battle Suit with which he wages a war against criminals, cars, tall people, bar seats, and anything that annoys him. He may often be found ranting, drunk, and flying around on his Bagpipe: Thrusters. He's very sensitive about his height and tends to explode into a violent rage whenever the subject is brought up. This usually results in him beating the offender, be it/they living or inanimate, senseless with his Surprisingly Wieldy and Concealable Enemy-B-Crushed Named Bertha.

I read it and thought it was pretty good...though the ending sucks.
It's made by the guy who does 8-Bit Theater, or whatever that old webcomic is called. I never picked this up. From the excerpts I saw, it just never seemed all that funny.
I'm just going to put up a quick excerpt from the book, where Nuklear Man gets a telemarketing call:

"May I please speak to Mr. Nuklear?"
"That's me."
"Mr. Nuklear, how would you like to save up to 20% on your long distance phone bill?"
"I gues I'd really like to, but since we live off of the royalties of a multi-billion dollar a yearmerchandising deal, phone bills aren't exactly a problem."
"But you like to save money, don't you?"
"Well, yes, but I-"
"Then you should sign up for our newest long distance rates. You couldsave up to 20% on state to state calls between BOOP and seven o clock and-"
"Hold on, I have another call." He made the switch. "Hello?"
"May I please speak to Mr. Nuklear?"
"Are you the same guy on the other line?"
"Excuse me, sir?"
"There's some guy from a phone guy trying to get me to sign up for his long distance rates."
"Oh yeah? What's he offering?"
"Up to 20% savings."
"We'll offer up to 25%."
"Ooh, competetion. I think I'll run it by the other guy to be fair. He did get me first."
Switch. "Hello?"
"...and you can even save on call to the proposed Lunar Base of 2010."
"The phone guy on the other line offered 25%."
"Did he make a counter offer?"
"Yeah, it was BOOP er, hold on, this'll take a second."
Switch. "Hello?"
"40% savings on your long distance calls."
"How did you BOOP hang on." Switch. "Hello?"
"It's me again."
"Which one? All you guys sound alike."
"I'm the first guy. What was the counter offer?"
"Well, the newest guy started at 40%."
"Newest guy? Mother BOOP"
"Hold on." Switch. "Hello?"
"You again?"
"No, BOOP"
Switch. "Hello?"
"We'll go as low as 40% savings."
"I think someone just mentioned 45%."
"Damn those BOOP"
"May I please speak to Mr. Nuklear?"
The phone went deathly silent. Nuklear Man noticed he was panting with exasperation and quickly regained his composure. "Hello?"
He could hear tortured screams and fires raging in the distance. "You win this round, 'Nuklear Man.'" The voice was harch, though strangely tempting.
"Hey! How'd you get this number?"
"Uh..." CLICK.
"Hello?" Nuklear Man put down the receiver. "The Prince of Darkness hung up on me. What a jerk."
I'm going to resurect this thread, for reason other then I reread it recently and feel like talking about it.

Looking back, this book was probably decent at best. It has a great cast of characters, and managaes to get quite a few good jokes in. But the book's too padded for it's own good and it dosen't form a cohesive plot until about a third of the way through. Nuklear Age is more like a webcomic then a novel, really. (Even if you think of the entire book as a joke and the gratuitously downer ending as it's punchline, there's still no reason for that much padding. And the lack of plot for a while wouldn't have been a problem if it hadn't insisted on taking itself seriously around the end.)

But judging from Clevinger's work on Atomic Robo, he's seriously grown as a writer. For that reason I'm looking forward to that sequel, whenever Clevinger gets around to writing it.

(If it's a crappy ending again, there's going to be a HUGE dent in my wall.)
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