A few weeks ago, I was sitting in an airport in Orlando. My wife and I were about to make our return flight from our honeymoon. As we waited to board the flight, on which we realized we would have to be seated separately, I realized I would need something to entertain myself on the flight home. I had seen on Facebook that just a few days earlier, this novel, Airfoil: Origins by Steve Rzasa, had just been released. I decided to give it a try and downloaded it on my Kindle app on my phone.
The book drew my in instantly. Written from the first-person perspective of protagonist Brandon Tusk, Airfoil: Origins is a classic superhero origin story that hits all the right buttons to be nostalgic without being too cliche. There’s the superhero, the best friend, the love interest, the mob conflicts, the mysterious villain and his lethal assassin, and the crusty old mentor. Rzasa plays with the origin story by giving the protagonist a teenage son, not a common occurrence in superhero stories. Dealing with being a father and a librarian is already a difficult life for depressed Brandon Tusk, but add in superpowers and an ancient battle of good and evil, and things really take off.
One of the standout characters to me was Frank, Brandon’s mentor in learning how to use his powers. Frank is comically grumpy, has an affinity for guns and nice cars, and is not ashamed of it. More than once I found myself annoyed with Frank’s secrecy and bluntness, but at the same time enjoying the complexity of his character. Just as Brandon does, the reader learns to love the crotchety old man.
Brandon himself has to overcome personal demons, both internal and external, as he works to become a superhero. Because of a tragic loss in his life, Brandon is not exactly the best at expressing himself, and throughout the book, as he learns to become a hero, he also sets himself on the road to personal healing.
Airfoil: Origins is also full of incredible, jaw-dropping plot twists. Some of them are hinted at early on, while others will leave readers reeling–all the way to the final page.
This book isn’t one to coddle readers, either. It is raw, visceral, and real. Characters good and bad drink, curse, and kill as the story goes along. Rzasa did not hesitate to flesh out his characters, making them feel real, with all the flaws that come with being human. Early on, Brandon mentions his lapsed Christianity because of the tragedy he experienced. But we see the same characters go through growth, come to crossroads, and make decisions that ultimately set them on better paths. We see trials of faith and tests of patience.
In the end, though, this is a story of restored faith, a hopeful tale of redemption and victory. Airfoil: Origins is a fantastic book that had me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the last. For anyone looking for a classic, thrilling superhero adventure, this is the book for you. I look forward to what comes next.