I am a believer in the mantra that you cannot judge a book or genre entirely without at least reading one of them to better understand them. I've lately been making tons of fun of Avengers slash fiction (just don't ask why this comes up in my life so often)... and I figured I'd better find one with a cover and just get it over with so I can make fun of Marvel Slashfic forever. Particularly Stony. Shut up about Stony, women of the internet! IT IS NOT A REAL THING. These two would make a terrible couple.
I am going to regret this endeavor.
SEMAPHORE by Devil Doll.
For one glorious moment I thought maybe this book was about Tony Stark and Steve Rogers fighting the Devil Doll from Trilogy of Terror at the top of Stark Tower. This is how hard my mind subliminally rejects this whole genre. However, okay... Slash. Right. Steve's making a stupid puppy dog face and I guess Tony's all looking wistful. This seems innocent enough, but my God, I'm scared. Also, what the HELL is a "semaphore"? I had to actually look up a word that titles a SLASH FICTION and this enraged me. "Signaling method"?
Okay, okay... they are going to like, flirt and give some kind of mansigns to each other that they would like to engage in a relationship. They will have sex atop Stark tower, probably after drinking, because Tony is really good at drinking. There. That's my guess.
What I got:
... I'm... wait.
Let me explain how this went. It was 99 pages long. Which was, pretty effing longer than I expected. And honestly, I was charmed with it for a while. It was like reading a bizarre "Avengers slice-of-life" story where they just hang out together and cook and talk and you get a little insight into what a superteam does on their days off. (And what kind of Halloween parties they throw). There were some hilarious and actually well-written moments (Namor, I love it when you show up anywhere)- some parts that made me feel sad (the drawn-out, realistic breakup between Pepper and Tony; the friendship between Steve and a 90 year old granny being his most meaningful connection), and epic moments of partying by Thor and the Asgardians that seemed to feel, well- all comic-booky and adorable and generally people felt in-character.
There were several cultural bits thrown in for relevance, and cameos by other Marvel universe characters- and I'm going to even argue that the bit making fun of Twighlight was funny as hell.
Listen, long story short and avoiding talking about Stark/Rogers action which was pretty clearly described (I admit I skipped over a lot of it, I just.. I can't.) - I was shocked to find that the whole thing felt... "wholesome"? I was expecting something horribly written and somehow awful and dumb and it just came off like a sweet love story fluff-fiction about two broken-hearted people falling in love and... and... for the love of God it had a freaking cookie recipe from Clint Barton at the end!?
CURSE YOU DEVIL DOLL. Just because your stupid story wasn't horrendously bad doesn't mean I'm not still on Team Pepperony forever!
Stark and Rogers do it in Stark Tower after 55 pages of doing a lot of soul-searching and talking about feelings and staring longingly. Could it have killed Devil Doll to find a picture of Chris Evans that wasn't Chris Evans and looked more like Steve Rogers? WHAT THE HELL. THAT IS MY COVER CRITIQUE? I need to go ... wash my mind with bleach.
(I laughed when Steve exclaimed "Holy Cow!". I did. Did they just "50 Shades" us?!)