Another Twisted Tale that has so far only been released on the other side of the pond, Suddenly Super asks “What if Violet from The Incredibles became an Agent of Syndrome?”. Now before anyone starts freaking out too much, no, Violet doesn’t suddenly become evil. Instead, she’s a confused teen who gets manipulated by an evil man. What happens when an immensely powerful, but basically good person, gets twisted around and pointed in the wrong direction? Find out in Jen Calonita’s Suddenly Super.
[Warning: My review of Suddenly Super contains some spoilers!]
The Incredibles twist in Suddenly Super
Disney’s Twisted Tale series takes their beloved movies and changes one small detail (or sometimes a large detail, but anyway…) to see how the ripples change the whole story. In Suddenly Super, that detail isn’t that Violet is suddenly evil like the tagline suggests, but that Dash never stows away on the plane when Elastigirl leaves to save Mr. Incredible.
In the original story, Elastigirl is worried that Mr. Incredible is in danger, so she leaves Violet in charge of Dash and Jack-Jack while she goes to find him. Dash secretly follows his mother, and Violet follows him because she doesn’t want to get in trouble for not watching him. This takes the whole family (minus the supposedly normal Jack-Jack) on a wild adventure to save the world.
But this time around, Dash doesn’t sneak off after his mom. Violet stays home with him and Jack-Jack. But trouble still finds them. Their mom is gone way longer than Violet expected. Then a stranger named Mirage shows up, saying their mom sent her to get them. Violet wisely doesn’t believe her at first, but after Mirage leaves, goons attack their home! The kids barely manage to escape. Violet is scared and unsure of what to do, so she grabs onto the only lifeline she sees, Mirage.
Mirage comes to the rescue, picking the kids up and taking them to her boss, Syndrome. Syndrome claims to work for a branch of the government so secret it doesn’t even have a name. Violet isn’t totally convinced, but she doesn’t see any other alternatives.
Her whole life has been upended in a matter of hours, and she’s not prepared for what comes next. Especially when Syndrome tells her that her parents have been killed by the supervillain, Mastermind. Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack are now alone in the world and Syndrome seems to be the only one they have.
Violet’s motivations in this Disney Incredibles Twisted Tale
When Violet first hears that her parents are dead, she refuses to believe it. Her parents are the greatest Supers in the world, they can’t be dead. When Syndrome insists that they are, she slides into shock and starts falling towards depression.
But Syndrome quickly pushes her towards anger and rage instead. He stokes the flames of her anger and points it towards Mastermind, the person responsible for their deaths. Syndrome teaches her to use her anger to fuel her abilities, giving her a huge amount of control and power. He then tells her to use this power to get back at Mastermind.
Syndrome tells Violet that Mastermind killed her parents because they had powers, and that she’ll come after Violet and her brothers because of their powers as well. But he tells Violet that Mastermind has an invention, the nullifier, that can make Supers normal. All Violet has ever wanted is to be normal. Syndrome says that if she steals the nullifier then she and her brothers can use it to give up their powers. Then they’ll be safe.
Why not give up the powers she never wanted anyway? Violet is so scared, angry and confused that she believes Syndrome. And he’s pushing so hard that she doesn’t take the time to think things through. She also doesn’t stop to question all the little things that aren’t adding up. Just who is Syndrome? Why were her parents on a mission when they were retired? Why would Mastermind suddenly kill them after all these years? By the time she does start asking questions, it may be too late to save anyone.
Jen Calonita’s Suddenly Super is better than the tagline
When I first read “What if Violet Became an Agent of Syndrome?” I wanted to read Suddenly Super because I loved The Incredibles, but I was a little disappointed with the way the story sounded. Sure, Violet was an angsty, crabby teen, but I couldn’t see her deciding to become evil. That just didn’t work for me, so I was, let’s say, warily interested in Suddenly Super.
But once I started reading, I saw that Violet doesn’t turn evil at all. She thinks she’s a good guy the whole time. She’s just being manipulated by an evil person. The same evil person tries to destroy her family in The Incredibles, but he just has a different plan this time. This made me very happy because I didn’t want to see Violet Parr become evil. I rooted for her throughout the whole book.
The message of Suddenly Super is always be prepared
As frustrating as it was to see Violet taken in by Syndrome’s lies, it’s her parents that I blame. The entire story of Suddenly Super said to me, “Always tell the truth and be prepared”. If Violet’s parents had just been more forthcoming about things, Syndrome would never have been able to manipulate Violet the way he did. But because they wanted to hide their powers and their past, they didn’t properly prepare Violet for when that past came back to haunt them.
It’s like teaching your kids what to do in an emergency. You don’t want to scare them by talking about the house burning down, but if you don’t teach them what to do and practice, they won’t know what to do if it actually happens.
This is literally what happens to Violet, she has no idea what to do when supervillains come calling, and she doesn’t even know the number for the Agency (the branch of the government that helps Supers). She’s completely on her own, and that leaves her vulnerable to manipulation.
I’m just glad that she eventually comes out of her grief enough to ask questions and be the Super that she always was inside! It made for a really enjoyable read in the end. Fans of the original will love seeing Violet come into her own once again in Suddenly Super. Now they just need to start releasing these on this side of the pond! (Of course, there’s always the internet).
My Rating: 9/10
Suddenly Super by Jen Calonita is not released in the US but can be purchased on Amazon. Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord if you plan on reading this novel!