Scientists have long theorized that the universe must be composed mostly of unseen “Dark Matter,” although no one has been able to find it. They say it’s the bulk of everything (according to their mathematical models), and it would therefore be flowing through us all, and through our planet’s core. Dark Matter would be pervasive everywhere if it existed, an infinite ocean, which none could see, smell, touch, or taste. Causing enough force to hold galaxies together, Dark Matter would surely be grand in its potential if it could be tapped.
I’ve been quite skeptical of the entire theory, but one day I asked what if? What if Dark Matter was real and a select few beings could actually interact with it? Or if they could harness it in a variety of ways to superimpose its power onto our own everyday reality? Those who could control this stuff would be godlike.
Of course, it had to be a superhero story. That’s how it started, but certainly not where it ended. Demigods needed to twist around the superhero narrative away from Marvel and DC toward something politically radical. More of a Watchmen approach, the warped history intermingles with legends and folklore, all of which spring from ancient supernatural creatures interacting with our forebears long ago.
This implied that the powerful Supernaturals had taken a break and were reclusive, uninterested in human endeavors. Since unrestrained human expansion infringes on what’s left of the Supernaturals’ territory the conflict of species would inevitably come to a
But there is a subtlety and a political maneuvering to the Supers. They are powerful, but not all-powerful. Wisdom has taught those who would reign supreme to use only the minimal force necessary. A lie is better than an explosion when it comes to wrangling humans. The metaphor is the thing. Our society is not unlike that of Dragomir’s vision: cunning propaganda rules over us today through narratives, rather than through direct violence. But a society can only be controlled so far before it resists. Right?
As for the actual story of Demigods, two characters were central. An eccentric physicist came across a car wreck on a dark, rainy night. Therein, he found a dead family of travelers, except for the man in the passenger seat. Seizing this opportunity, he dragged the man up the wet embankment and took the comatose body back to his home laboratory. The physicist had created a catalyst that could interact with Dark Matter, and he was keen to perfect it. The man, Steven Arkin, would be a guinea pig for the most radical treatment of all, binding living cells to the Dark Matter field. Steven Arkin would become the first human turned Supernatural. A newcomer into the secretive world of the ancients, Arkin is always out of his depth and trying to get by in an ethical fashion, while haunted by the loss of his wife and son.
The main, driving character of Demigods, however, is little D’Andre Walker, who is ten. D’Andre has cancer, and he’s stuck in the Bronx Children’s Hospital where he’s slowly fading out. Days are spent flicking through TV channels and fighting off the aches.
It is D’Andre who begins to notice problems with the Supernaturals, the manipulation of media stories, and the bottom line: they are unaccountable even if they kill humans. Supers are above the law, but nobody even talks about it. It’s just the way it is.
By chance, D’Andre Walker is selected to meet Supernatural Steve in person. It’s every sick kid’s dream, as Steve flies them around on his back, working with the Wish to Dream Foundation. On the day of the big event, D’Andre’s TV plays a glimpse of an obscure incident. Did Supernaturals murder a baby in some far off country? There are no answers, only grieving mothers. He is devastated to the point of depression.
As D’Andre arrives at the park and at the open stage, where Super Steve flies down to an adoring crowd, D’Andre remains in a stupor. TV cameras roll, and local politicians make speeches to try and seem important. It’s overwhelming for him and not what he had expected.
Before the show can take off, D’Andre tells Supernatural Steve that he doesn’t want to fly. He instead wants Steve to figure out if the Supernaturals are getting away with killing a baby, like it showed on the news. His message broadcasts out to the world’s media. Steve Arkin is put on the spot.
Suddenly, the actions of Supernaturals are under scrutiny, and Steve Arkin must decide which side he is on, humanity’s or the Supers’.
J. Giambrone is the author of Demigods, Transfixion, Wrecking Balls, Hell of a Deal, and co-authored The Scousers.
Demigods on Goodreads
“Without a shadow of a doubt, Steve Arkin could become the next beloved Superhero around the globe.”
“Demigods is an amazingly crafted book that will awaken the comic book lover in all of us “
“Let go of reality and enjoy this superhero tale as Joe Giambrone creates all the excitement of comic books with a lot more substance.”
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