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Reviews

Kirkus (October 15, 2011)
Continuing to plead that he’s not the Archvillain (2010) everyone makes him out to be, a teenager with super powers complicates his case by falling in with a hilariously crazed megalomaniac bent on world conquest.
It’s just so frustrating. Despite a megagenius IQ and super powers of his own, every scheme Kyle has concocted to unmask widely admired superhero Mighty Mike as an alien in disguise has gone wrong while making him look like the Bad Guy. Worse yet, Kyle’s long-time best friend Mairi has taken to hanging out with the hunky creep! Yet another teen superhero appears on the scene, this one wearing a cool wooden mask, given to frothy third-person rants (“The Mad Mask fears no one—man, woman, child, or platypus!”) and sporting both plans for a titanic killer robot and some impressive tech gear. It’s too much; Kyle disregards the reservations of the mouthy sidekick AI he’s constructed in his iPod and jumps at the chance to, well, at least show Mighty Mike up. Styling himself “The Azure Avenger” but generally known as “The Blue Freak,” Kyle isn’t the most reliable of POV characters, but his intentions are generally good, despite a tendency to rationalize iffy acts like stealing chemicals for his basement lab or altering his parents’ memories with a brain-wave manipulator. By the end, he finds himself actually having to help Mighty Mike. Figures.
A fizzy mix of multilayered comedy and awesomely destructive battles, presented from an unusual narrative angle. (Adventure. 10-13)

Booklist (January 1, 2012)
The superhero spoof that kicked off in Archvillain (2010) picks up again as supergenius kid Kyle (known as the Azure Avenger to himself and the Blue Freak to everyone else) continues his quest to prove to the world that his goody-goody rival, Mighty Mike, is really an alien bent on some nefarious cause. Kyle joins forces with another superpowered kid, the beauty-hating Mad Mask, and the lines between superhero, antihero, and outright villain get tangled beyond recognition. Lyga packs the story with enough bombastic mayhem and light moral ambiguity to keep the pages flipping faster than a speeding you-know-what.

School Library Journal (February 2012)
Endowed with extraordinary strength and brainpower by a mysterious “space plasma,” sixth-grader Kyle (aka the Azure Avenger) continues his efforts to unmask the alien Mighty Mike. As in Archvillain (Scholastic, 2010), superpowered Mike is still the darling of the populace, even though his heroic efforts often have unfortunate consequences. He has taken over Kyle’s spot as the most popular kid in Bouring Middle School and is center stage in every class. Still suspicious of Mighty Mike’s ultimate plans, Kyle is working on a new device to expose him when he is contacted by yet another would-be archvillain. Calling himself the Mad Mask, the newcomer claims to have been disfigured by the same cosmic event that brought Mighty Mike to Earth and gave Kyle his enhanced abilities. He needs Kyle’s help to finish his Ultitron robot and promises assistance against Mighty Mike in return. At first Kyle is delighted to have another superfriend in the mix. However, he begins to notice that his new ally has a rather cruel streak and is decidedly unreliable in crisis situations. Is the Mad Mask really all he seems? Readers familiar with the first adventure will find that Kyle shows considerable character growth in this installment. While he is still not above manipulating others for his own benefit, his experience with the Mad Mask’s truly malicious plotting shows him the limits of cynicism and selfishness–perhaps moving him closer to being a genuine superhero. Filled with mock heroic dialogue and sly jabs at popular superhero conventions, this book will be welcomed by adventure fans. 

The Trades.com (December 22, 2011)
“The Mad Mask is not only great fun, it’s a story that looks at how a person can rationalize away the means of achieving their good intentions.” Read the complete review at The-Trades.com.

Wired’s GeekDad (January 3, 2012)
“The second book in the Archvillain series is sharp and funny like the first…. Now I have to wait another year for Book 3!” Read the entire review at Wired’s GeekDad blog.

This Kid Reviews Books (January 18, 2012)
“I liked this book. In fact I liked it more than the first book in the series….Mr. Lyga described the action scenes so well that I really saw what was happening in my mind.” Read the entire review.