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Reviewed by Stephen Fisher for Readers' Favorite
After Dark by Michael A. DiBaggio and Shell DiBaggio is a story about Sebastian Pereira, a teen who has wanted to be a vigilante his whole life. Shortly after reaching puberty, he discovers that he has attained the talent of psychometry. He is able to touch an object and the owner’s thoughts begin flooding his mind. He awkwardly describes it as telepathy’s homely sister that nobody ever asks to a dance. Then he gains another talent called hydrokinesis. After trying out the name Doom Spectre, he decides on Torrent. He and his best friend Alex, who goes by Mysterious X or “X” for short, patrol the streets at night on their bicycles.
Enter Evangeline “Eva” Garver, a new student who is the target of three bullies when Sebastian rescues her from the abuse. Time goes by and they become closer. But things change when she invites him to dinner to meet her scrutinizing father. Sebastian then has a revelation when he finds out that Eva’s father was associated with famous super heroes, which he denies. Eva then invites Sebastian to a meeting of metahuman rights and, when confronted, Sebastian gives his opinions, which causes an argument between them. After some research and in between his alter ego excursions, Sebastian as Torrent attends a secret meeting of Talents in their costumes.
The duo of Michael DiBaggio, and Shell DiBaggio deliver this story with clever wit. Shell’s illustrations of the not so famous people that feel the need to protect society from the evildoers of Pittsburgh describe vividly the mishaps and successes of our heroes in action with a raw sense of humility. This work would be great as a comic book except for the cleverly written, R-rated dialog that had me laughing out loud. The cliffhanging revelation at the close of After Dark will leave you salivating for the next installment.