Imagine a world where people with powers could attend a school for superhero training. Wait, that’s textbook Sky High, X-Men, and even Harry Potter. So, what is it that makes Will Supervillains Be on the Final: Liberty Vocational, Vol. 1 by Naomi Novik unique?
Picture instead a young superhero entering a prestigious college at 16 because of her unique powers. Little does she know that one of the teachers and one of her classmates are working together to ruin her academic career. And the greatest superhero Calvin Washington recently lost his powers after using them to absorb a terrorist bombing, while his archenemy Alexander Bane remains on the loose. Then add to it all that Leah Taymore’s parents, and even the staff at her new university, expect Leah to fill Washington’s place once she completes her training, while Leah would rather be at her old school instead of a heralded prodigy at the prestigious Liberty Vocational.
While parts of Novik’s graphic novel may feel familiar with the recent inundation of superhero stories, the characters and premise of Will Supervillains Be on the Final? are nevertheless fun and compelling. I especially like Leah’s roommate Yuzana, an extroverted empath whose superpower enables her to read people’s emotions.
I think Novik’s book, which is listed as volume one of the Liberty Vocational series, has potential. I was really disappointed that just as the story began to take off, volume one ended and I discovered that a sequel was never printed. Even though it appears that there may never be a sequel (Will Supervillains Be on the Final? came out in 2011), I hope that maybe one day there will be one. I’m always sad when a series with promise comes to an untimely end, like Ruse or Herobear and the Kid, but I don’t think that means the books aren’t worth reading, and I always hold onto a faint hope that maybe if enough people demonstrate their interest, the series may someday reignite.