The Frame-Up: superheroes, mystery and mayhem

The Frame Up book review

What is this about?: MG is a comics writer called in to consult on a curious case where criminals seem to be caught and wrapped up with a tidy boy just like her favourite comics hero — Golden Arrow. But, life isn’t a comic book right?

What else is this about?: This is about MG, realising that as tight as she’s holding on to her comics love and her individuality in a world that does not appreciate that about her, she does need to live in this world — to fall in love, and live a life without giving up who she is.

Blurb

By day she writes comic books. By night, she lives them.

MG Martin lives and breathes geek culture. She even works as a writer for the comic book company she idolized as a kid. But despite her love of hooded vigilantes, MG prefers her comics stay on the page.

But when someone in LA starts recreating crime scenes from her favorite comic book, MG is the LAPD’s best—and only—lead. She recognizes the golden arrow left at the scene as the calling card of her favorite comic book hero. The thing is…superheroes aren’t real. Are they?

When the too-handsome-for-his-own-good Detective Kildaire asks for her comic book expertise, MG is more than up for the adventure. Unfortunately, MG has a teeny little tendency to not follow rules. And her off-the-books sleuthing may land her in a world of trouble.

Because for every superhero, there is a supervillain. And the villain of her story may be closer than she thinks…

You think you know geek? Nope. There’s geek and then there’s The Frame-Up geek: unabashedly geeky goodness, where your favourite cult TV show, movie and comic will absolutely get name-checked.

MG Martin at your service

MG is our fast-talking, comics writing, costume designing nerd girl. She is a nerd and proud of it, and it’s carried her through a competitive industry to writing her own comics, aiming for a promotion and … now solving a murder. But we’ll get to that.

It took me awhile to understand why MG is the way she is, because yes that much geekyness can get exhausting. But to understand why, you have to understand that MG is embracing everything she is because she’s tired of being told that she is isn’t normal. Isn’t enough. Isn’t… everything that every normal girl is. By her parents, by the guys she’s dated and the men who control the comics company and her promotion.

This is information doled out through the book, as the case progresses and it gives you a rounded picture of MG and who she is — and why her nerd cred is her armour against the world and getting hurt.

But what I appreciated?  That MG genuinely shows growth at the end, and realises that her nerd world might be just too much of a cocoon for her, that she needs to experience the good and bad of the world on her terms and as who she truly is… that MG who likes comics, art and designing cosplay doesn’t mean she needs to keep herself from the world.

So, there’s a case and a superhero

The Golden Arrow reminds me of, drum roll please, the Green Arrow. I know, big stretch there. Our Golden Arrow goes around catching drug dealers and bad guys like his comics counterpart, right down to leaving his calling card at the scene.

And MG is a Golden Arrow F-A-N. He shaped her childhood and her love for comics, and when she discovers that this mystery will take her into the past of the GA’s mysterious creator AND her BFF Lawrence (yes, I know it’s a stretch, but trust me it works), she is equal parts ecstatic and worried that she is about to get Lawrence arrested.

Because MG lies alot in this — to the hot detective she doesn’t want to be attracted to, but is, to Lawrence and to Ryan, another close friend. She hates it, but she’s the type of person who wants to protect everyone and take care of everyone… but what do they say about best intentions and all that?

Things appear more complex than they are

What starts as a fun mystery involving a superhero evolves into a larger mystery about a decades-old death, the drugs coming into the city and possibly a corrupt cop.

That complexity doesn’t detract from the fun the geeky goodness injects into and honestly. MG herself. She is excited at the prospect of helping out the cops, before she slowly begins to realise what’s at stake.

It made me realise is that utter joy this book gives towards the geeky goodness of our world might be too much for some to handle, even though its weaved well into the larger mystery.

Because yeah, things come to a head in a con

San Diego comic con of course.

It’s less cliched than it sounds, but extremely fun. The focus here is always the main story, with added geeekyness thrown in for texture.

There are answers in regards to the mystery of exactly who do all the drug dealers that GA is rounding up work for, and in the end that’s far more important than who the GA is. And I have to say, I like the idea that there is no answer to that question, and that we haven’t seen the last of this superhero.

The Frame-Up is fun, and filled with so much geeky goodness that it’s such a treat. But there’s also a interesting and complex MG at it’s centre, learning just who she truly is at heart.

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