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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Illegal: The First Mexican Superhero is a work of fiction in the adventure, social satire, and action subgenres. It is best suited for the mature adult readership, was penned by author Steven Cortinas, and is presented here in its audiobook form with narration from new narrator Andrea Barthel as well as a wide cast of others. The storyline follows a modern-day superhero who defies convention as a young Mexican man from the rough side of the city. Impassioned with a vigilante’s sense of justice, a new protégé, and a crime syndicate to destroy, the self-named “Illegal” will stop at nothing to take down his target.
In terms of its audiobook presentation, I thought that Andrea Barthel and the ensemble cast of the production gave it everything they had to bring the tension, excitement, and dry humor of the tale to life. William Guirola was especially amusing to me, delivering deadpan lines and powerful social commentary with an effortless kind of grace. The work was also superbly well-edited with some great sound effects that were well placed and not intrusive or disruptive to the narrative quality.
In terms of the work itself, author Steven Cortinas’s story will not suit all readerships, but fans of gritty, dark comic-book-style storytelling will find plenty that’s worth enjoying in this fast-paced drama. A particular highlight for me was the conversational style of the action, which felt a bit like the wit of the Marvel Universe, but with all the whitewashed Disney sensibilities taken away and replaced with some very poignant points about the world and how we view it through our chosen media. Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Illegal: The First Mexican Superhero to fans of fast-paced, gritty audio dramas who are looking for an afternoon’s escapism that also offers much satirical food for thought.