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The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
Kinetic - Kelley Puckett, Warren Pleece Tom is a teen with a number of health problems that force him to lead a physically straitened, often painful life. Then one day he gets super-strength.

This could easily have been the usual origin story we see for superheroes. But instead, Puckett gives us something far more nuanced. Tom's disabilities are part of him and his identity, not just a problem to be overcome. He's not sure what to do with his new power, and is frightened that it makes his darker impulses so easy to fulfill. He struggles with his crush on a new girl, torn between thinking about her in a sexual way and feeling guilty for looking at her that way without her knowledge. His relationship with his mother is fantastic--I could immediately tell that they love each other, but there's tension there because he's trying to grow up and she's spent so much of her life devoted to protecting him. She's a character in her own right, with issues aside from his new superpowers, which I appreciated. Their conversations felt totally real to me.

The art could be better, but the characters are fairly recognizable from one page to the next, and it never pulls back from showing the less pretty aspects of Tom's disabilities. It's realistic--everyone looks like actual humans, instead of the wasp-waists and skin-tight clothes most artists rely on.

I was surprised at how good this was. Puckett is one of the few writers working today in comics giving us something beside the usual able-bodied straight white male protagonists (I'm thinking of Cassandra Cain as Bat-girl here) and telling stories that aren't the same ones we've seen in comics for the last 50 years. And he does it well. I look forward to reading more by him!