Silver Sable has made a deal with the devil in Cath Lauria’s Silver Sable: Payback. Well, Doctor Doom anyway so close enough. Doom has been trying to track down the Clairvoyant, a future-telling machine, and has failed. He believes Silver Sable can succeed where he failed. Silver is reluctant to help but feels trapped. She’s certain that telling Doom no is just as dangerous as telling him yes and failing to deliver. In the end, she agrees to take on the job. Now she just has to figure out how to catch someone who can literally see her coming before she gets there.
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Aconyte for the purpose of this review. Warning: My review of Silver Sable: Payback contains some spoilers!]
An irresistible offer from Doctor Doom
Silver Sable and her team, the Wild Pack, are some of the best mercenaries in the world. They take on jobs locating and bringing in people all the time and they always get their target. But this job is different. James Tolentino created a device, dubbed the Clairvoyant, that can see all the possible futures available at any one time and how to arrive at those different futures. Currently, he’s using the device to travel around the world fleecing casinos and to avoid Doctor Doom’s operatives trying to catch him and take the Clairvoyant. Because Doom has decided that he wants to have the power of the Clairvoyant for himself. He’s already sent multiple teams after Tolentino – but he’s evaded them all.
Now Doom wants Silver Sable to track Tolentino down. He thinks that by removing himself from proximity to the operation, Tolentino won’t see the team coming. Sable does not want to work for Doctor Doom in any capacity, but she also sees the danger in turning him down.
As she tries to find a way to extricate herself from the situation, Doom sweetens the deal. He offers to pay off all of Symkaria’s (quite substantial) debt. This would make Symkaria a free country able to make its own way in the world. This is everything that Sable has been working towards. In the end, she can’t say no and her team begins tracking Tolentino down.
An impossible task in Silver Sable: Payback
Silver Sable goes into this job with high hopes. She tries to temper her optimism by saying the first attempt probably won’t succeed, but she’s sure her team can handle Tolentino. Then they try to move for the first time. After some hilarious antics, her team is arrested and Tolentino is disappearing with the Clairvoyant.
After several more attempts, Silver Sable begins to lose hope. She’s facing a strict deadline. Doom gave her just one month to find Tolentino and she’s running out of time. Finally, she decides to call in for some help. She tempts Black Cat to join her with the promise of something she badly wants but can’t get any other way.
After some more hijinks, Black Cat and her crew join Silver Sable’s crew. Then they get down to the business of outsmarting the future. But how do you trick a machine that knows every move you could possibly make and how to counter it?
A hilarious good time in this Marvel novel
Modern Marvel stories have a reputation for being funny. But Silver Sable: Payback takes that humor to a whole new level. There’s plenty of witty dialog and funny quips to keep you chuckling. But on top of that, the elaborate ways that Tolentino evades Silver Sable and her crew are hilarious.
Silver Sable and Black Cat (plus their crews) are all professionals. Extremely good professionals. They do everything they can to cover every contingency but the Clairvoyant allows Tolentino to see all of their preparations and dance circles right around them. Some of the situations are so funny that I was literally laughing right out loud.
The difference between a family and a crew
One thing that Silver Sable learns during Silver Sable: Payback is the difference between a crew and a family. And why one is better than the other. Silver Sable runs her team as a group of professionals. She tries to avoid any sort of personal connection to the members and tries to enforce the same ban on them.
She thinks that the lack of personal ties makes things easier. It keeps them focused and keeps their judgment from becoming clouded. However, she comes to learn (the hard way) that keeping the personal and professional lives of your crewmembers separate is not only impossible but can have very bad consequences.
As she works with Black Cat she sees another way to operate. Black Cat has created a family out of her crew. They don’t just work together, they also live and relax together. Black Cat makes sure to treat her people like, well, people. Whereas Silver Sable almost treats her people like advanced weapons. Black Cat’s approach makes some aspects of the operation a little messier. But Silver Sable has to admit that there are some serious advantages to treating a crew as family. Perhaps she’ll try it one day.
Silver Sable: Payback is a great read to relax with
Lauria creates the equivalent of an action-comedy in Silver Sable: Payback. There’s plenty of action and excitement going on but it’s balanced with a great sense of humor. Plenty of missteps and unexpected situations keep the action light and fun. The combination is perfect for an exciting way to relax and unwind after a tense day.
By Silver Sable’s third attempt to capture Tolentino, you won’t even remember what you were stressing about, you’ll be too busy laughing! Pick up this latest addition to the Marvel Heroine novel line and enjoy Silver Sable and Black Cat’s antics today.
My Rating: 9/10
Silver Sable: Payback: A Marvel Heroines Novel by Cath Lauria is available now! Are you interested in reading this one? Let us know on Twitter or in the Cosmic Circus Discord. And if you haven’t already, check out another Aconyte Marvel book review, Liberty & Justice For All!
Book Review: Liberty & Justice For All: An Xavier’s Institute Novel by Carrie Harris