The Rules of Supervillainy by C.T. Phipps

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This book reads much like a super-hero movie, which is probably evident given the title. This is a world where supervillainy and crime fighters are the norm, and there are minor henchmen running amok all over the city. Gary, the main character, was a happily married bank teller who found himself in the possession of the Nightwalker’s cloak, a super hero who protected the city for many decades, and with the cloak he finds himself with brand new superpowers!

Ever since he was a little kid, Gary has wanted to be a super villain, so instead of using his new powers for good, the opening of the book finds Gary staking out a bank with the plans to rob it. The problem is that there is already a team of lower ranking henchmen robing the bank. Gary, now known as “Merciless, the villain without mercy”, has gotten himself in the middle of everything and some supervillains wind up dead. He and his wife had an agreement when they got married that he wouldn’t get into crime, and they both agreed they’d have a normal life. He loves his wife, so even though he knows he’s going to get an earfull, he tells her when he gets home that he’s responsible for a death and a bank robbery. It doesn’t go over that well, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. They talk it out and set some ground rules and things go well for a little while. Merciless picks up a few henchmen, one of which is a legend in the field who’s now gotten older ….. and his ex girlfriend he went to prom with. It’s kind of a faux love-triangle since Merciless has no intentions on cheating on his wife, but it definitely complicates things. Gary finds himself surrounded by supervillains who are much more insane, and much more villainous than himself.

Gary is a decent guy even though he’s a super villain – well, he’s sort of decent… he might also be a sociopath. He doesn’t want to kill people per se, but he doesn’t care at all if he does happen to kill other supervillains. He doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with killing bad guys. But, he also doesn’t spare much thought for the innocent bystanders who get caught in his messes – but he does care deeply for his wife, and doesn’t come close to the level of crazy of other supervillains in the city. His cloak not only gives him powers like being ‘intangible’ which lets him walk through walls and be impervious to bullets, but the cloak is also sentient and speaks to him. A lot. And it’s usually nothing positive, the cloak used to belong to a superhero and it’s obvious it prefers it that way. He constantly tells Gary to stop being an idiot and advises him against most/all of his plans.

The tone in this is very light, there are lots of comedic moments and it’s also full of fun references and pop culture. There are absurd characters like The Typewriter, and The Ice Cream Man and reminds me a lot of The Venture Brothers if it just followed The Monarch.

It’s very fast paced and pretty short as well, so this can be a fun easy read to cleanse the brain a little. The audiobook was also pretty good, I hadn’t listened to anything by that narrator before and it left a good impression. I particularly loved the cloaks voice.

Overall I found this to be a lot of fun and I’ll probably pick up the sequel!


  • sentient inanimate objects – bonus points for sarcasm
  • grey characters
  • villain characters
  • super hero movies/comic books
  • lighter reads
  • faster reads
  • comic fantasy
  • audiobooks


  • Plot: 11/15
  • Characters 11/15
  • World Building 12/15
  • Writing: 12/15
  • Pacing: 14/15
  • Originality: 13/15
  • Personal Enjoyment: 8/10

Final Score: 81/100


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