D.F. Walker's young adult novel Darius Logan: Super Justice Force throws you comic book, science fiction and action tropes, all seen by a teenaged orphan named Darius Logan. Who will have more than one novel in which to tell his story; Walker is preparing to write The Adventures of Darius Logan -- Book Two. He has a self-imposed deadline and the tendency to meet them.
Disclosure early: I know and like David Walker, who runs the website Bad Azz Mofo and speaks Tuesdays on Cort and Fatboy. He's committed, hilarious, and has a glint in his eye, even after he's often had to battle to get where he is. He's one of the hardest workers I know, eyes wide open all the while to institutional idiocy, along with (among other things) the madness of the dating world. He has stories. He keeps finding ways to tell them.
I've been aware of Walker since late 2000, through his Willamette Week movie reviews. I first saw him in person in summer 2001, at a Troma Films festival, in a ball cap with a large ? on it. He's been a writer for years, as well as a teacher, a filmmaker (Damaged Goods, Uncle Tom's Apartment, and My Dinner With A.J.), a film festival organizer, a magazine publisher (the blaxploitation digest Bad Azz Mofo) and a comic book writer (Black Santa's Revenge, which he made into a short film with Ken Foree).
Darius Logan: Super Justice Force is where Walker added novelist to his skillset. I'm deeply glad he did, and I'm not the only one: Marvel Comics's Brian Michael Bendis is both a fan and a friend of his, and was one of the people who encouraged him to leap into novel-writing. The result is both a loving tribute to the world of comics and their often two-fisted action, and a still-entertaining reminder that a world with superheroes would still have plenty of the unfair societal problems that we struggle with. I'm having a blast reading it.
A chance he gets because he once met a superhero named Captain Freedom, who meets him again after his arrest and asks: Do you want to make a difference, or do you want to be "a stereotype and a statistic"?
Darius joins the support staff of Super Justice Force, Walker's version of the Justice League, at its imposing big-city headquarters. He becomes the youngest-ever member of Second Chance, a rehabilitation program for former criminals and super-criminals. He then runs smack into the organization's behind-the-scenes politics, rubs some people the wrong way, and does his teenaged best to navigate these treacherous waters, worried that he'll blow his chance and aware that some in the SJF are hoping he will.
You can read this for yourself. Walker's placed the first 25 chapters online for free reading at Darius Logan.com. What happens next can be found by buying the book, in hard copy, for the Kindle or for the Nook. I have a hard copy, a first edition that Walker has self-published.
D.F. Walker explains here what led to him self-publishing his book. He can explain more when he signs copies of it next Wednesday, 6:00 to 8:00, at Bridge City Comics at 3725 N. Mississippi: