I'm really torn on this book. I have enjoyed James Maxey, loved Nobody Gets The Girl. But this story has some serious problems with agency. Warning - there be spoilers.
Jenny encounters a man when she is 16-17 in the story. He clearly grooms her for what turns out to be an abusive, s&m sexual relationship. She is underage, he is not. This lack of agency is touched on very lightly then ignored. I kept hoping that it would be addressed in some fashion, and yes, in the end, the guy gets what's coming to him, but...it's hollow. The relationship is treated as for more normal than it should be. Agency issues and power dynamics are brushed aside. Cut Up Girl is clearly a girl with problems, and she does try to improve them, but the constant taking advantage of her that happens - I don't know, none of that is handled well or resolved well. The fact of the matter is that one character took advantage of an underaged girl for a few years and that was considered small potatoes.
In another spoiler, the racism of some characters was also treated far too lightly. These characters were lightly given some rather serious, terrible traits, and the book wasn't up to dealing with them in a serious enough way.
Yet, I liked Cut Up Girl, as a character. I liked her friendships, her journey, and her self discovery. But there were some serious issues in the book that were not treated with the gravitas I think they deserved, and that makes the whole book problematic.
Finally - "I'm from the government and I'm here to help". That old Regan line was slightly amusing when used in Maxey's Covenant, especially for the character, but why use it again here? It shows a lack of creativity, which is disappointing because this is an author that came up with a character that clones her self by cutting off limbs.
Look, I get it - it's a comic book based story. I'm a 50 year old comic book nerd, I totally get it. Expecting deep is maybe a bit much. But....comic books deal with some of these very issues in a much more mature and satisfying way, and I can't help but think that this book - despite an otherwise interesting character and overall plot, really failed.
New from the creator of Nobody Gets the Girl!
Cut Up Girl can't catch a break.
Valentine Summers is famous for all the wrong reasons. Her secret identity as the superhero known as Cut Up Girl has been exposed. Worse, explicit videos taken by a former partner have leaked to the media and she's become fodder for tabloids and a punchline for late night comedians.
It doesn't help that she has a rotten superpower, the ability to create a perfect clone of herself by cutting off a limb. Her limbs do grow back instantly, but her unstable clones end their brief lives with messy explosions. She'd like to put her life as a crimefighter behind her, but it's difficult to find a job when you're a scandal-plagued former vigilante.
Just when it seems her life can't get any worse, the most dangerous supervillain she ever put in prison escapes. Now she must suit up one last time to save Port City from a time-travelling Victorian scientist and his army of enhanced apes. Can Cut Up Girl save the city, rescue her reputation, and be seen as a hero once more? Probably not! But at least she can blow up bad guys with exploding clones until she feels a little better.
LAWLESS is a new series set in a world where the greatest superheroes have banded together as the Lawful Legion! Golden Victory! She-Devil! Atomahawk! Smash Lass! These living legends have saved the world a dozen times over! This is not their story. Instead, LAWLESS will feature heroes who didn't qualify to join the A-list heroes. Heroes whose powers are weird or useless, or people with great powers who don't necessarily have the courage or a compelling motive to serve mankind. Some people who gain superstrength use it to fight crime, others cash in by moving furniture. Forever living in the shadow of the Lawful Legion, can these rogue superhumans hope to find a path to become heroes?