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Prepare To Die!

Nine years ago, Steve Clarke was just a teenage boy in love with the girl of his dreams. Then a freak chemical spill transformed him into Reaver, the man whose super-powerful fists can literally take a year off a bad guy’s life.

Days ago, he found himself at the mercy of his arch-nemesis Octagon and a whole crew of fiendish super-villains, who gave him two weeks to settle his affairs–and prepare to die.

Now, after years of extraordinary adventures and crushing tragedies, the world’s greatest hero is returning to where it all began in search of the boy he once was . . . and the girl he never forgot.

Exciting, scandalous, and ultimately moving, Prepare to Die! is a unique new look at the last days of a legend.


The deconstruction of superheroes has been accomplished before, but rarely has it been done with the vigor and affection of comics veteran Tobin in his nearly pitch-perfect superhero tale for grownups. Steve Clarke’s teen years of playing baseball, smoking pot, and falling in love were interrupted by a catastrophic accident that transformed him into Reaver, an indestructible muscleman whose every punch takes a year of life from his victim. As an adult, Steve undertakes a journey of redemption and retribution to his small Oregon hometown, grimly aware that supervillain Octagon has given him only two weeks to live. With minimal angst, maximum humanity, and equal parts hilarity and pathos, Tobin (Marvel Adventures; Gingerbread Girl) crafts an entirely new collection of heroes and villains and their corresponding secret identities against a backdrop of fierce action, sexy romance, warm nostalgia, and wry observations on being a superhero in the age of YouTube. This is a contemporary and satisfying paean to superheroes and their fans.

Publisher’s Weekly starred review

Superheroes as subject matter – be it in comic books, novels, movies, etc. – have always had a polarizing affect on people. They seem to either love them or hate them. But that’s why I am so enamored with Paul Tobin’s recently released debut novel Prepare to Die!, which explores the superhero concept with sardonic wit, an endearing sense of nostalgia, and more than a little reverence for the history of superhero fiction and its archetypes throughout time. Fans of storylines powered by superheroes will find this novel to be the coolest thing since Hulk Smash Fists and those who could care less about superheroes will find the story heartrendingly human [...]

Tobin tells Clarke’s story through the intertwining of past and present and in doing so creates an interesting dichotomy – one is an over-the-top thrill ride chronicling Reaver’s exploits with his allies against the members of Eleventh Hour and the other is an emotionally compelling, profoundly moving story about a guy who, at the end of his life, realizes that his entire existence has been empty – and that all of the people that he has ever truly loved are either dead or estranged.

Honestly, while the superhero element was obviously the focal point, I enjoyed the human story of Clarke much more – it was funny, sexy, bittersweet, and incredibly romantic.

Paul Goat Allen, for BarnesAndNoble.Com

Tobin, a veteran comic-book writer who has tackled some of the genre’s most notable characters (Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, etc.), creates his own cast of superheroes in this exciting and emotionally resonant novel. Steve Clarke, otherwise known as Reaver (because his punch can rob a person of a year of his life), is captured by Octagon and his band of supervillains. “Prepare to die,” Octagon says, and so Steve says: sure, give me two weeks get my affairs in order. The novel, which finds Steve returning to his home town, his old girlfriend, and the bits and pieces of his former life, doesn’t read like a comic book. It reads like a mainstream novel—a man rediscovers the boy he once was, while coming to terms with his own impending death—that just happens to feature people with names like Octagon, Laser Beast, and Firehook. At the core of the story is Steve’s relationship with Adele, his first love, now a grown woman, but Steve’s past life is full of bittersweet memories and things he wishes he could change (like the death of young Kid Crater). Tobin explores these themes sensitively, while still giving readers a healthy dose of superhero action and mayhem. For fans of tales about superpowered people, a must-read.

David Pitt, for Booklist

A superhero novel that reminded me of a cross between Nick Hornby and Alan Moore.

Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf & Book Review

If you’re in the market for a new superhero story that shoots for that high bar… something new, something non-DC/non-Marvel, something definitely adult-oriented… I’d like to point you in the direction of a new book from Paul Tobin — Prepare to Die!

James Floyd Kelly, for

Prepare to Die! by Paul Tobin is about as good as superhero novels get. There’s plenty of action to go around, but you expect that from a superhero book. There’s also ample humor and sex. Lots of sex. Surprisingly, though, it’s the romance that proves to be the driving force behind the entire thing, which makes Reaver’s story fun and endearing. [...]

Tobin has created the quintessential superhero for the every man. A hero who saves the world, destroys the bad guy, and gets the girl. And who has lots of sex because he’s a hero. He’s exactly the hero a 14-year-old boy imagines he would be were he to get his own origin story. But Reaver also has regrets and makes mistakes, making him exactly who I’d be if I could immediately heal injuries and punch someone hard enough that he loses a year off of his life.

James W. Powell for Debut Reviews

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