Mild Dermatographia

Review: Worm


Sorry for the review spam. I swear I have a ton of topics I’d love to ramble about, but unfortunately, I’m caught up in exams and don’t really have the energy to do much which requires much critical thinking outside studying, so I’ve been resorting to reading and watching movies, thus my current output.

Right, Worm. I had high hopes for this series. Actually creative super-powers? Semi-rational characters? Great escalation? Sign me up! Unfortunately, Worm has a major flaw which ultimately lead me to give it a 2/5 instead of something more favorable.

First, the good: the superpowers are pretty darn original and, if they’re not, they’re applied in a fresh and well-thought out way. Worm had some great heroes, and some utterly horrifying villains. The redemption arcs and falls from grace were very well done, in my uneducated opinion. I also appreciate how scenarios escalate, from dealing with local thugs to world-ending threats. At one point in the series, the author apologizes in advance for experimenting with more character-development-oriented chapters, and I frankly loved them.

That last point leads into my main criticism of the series; there’s just too much combat. Almost every chapter feels like a big fight scene, one conflict leading directly into another. I don’t think the author is especially adept at writing them in a way which is captivating or easy to follow, leading to me skimming fights for the last fifth or so of the series, looking for any important outcome and skipping the rest. I ended up taking a two week break from the series before the final chapter because I was just exhausted with constant fighting.

I really enjoyed the slower chapters dedicated to the personal lives of main and peripheral characters. I wish there had been more of them, or rather the author had been more picky about which fights to keep in the book, because I’m sure not all of them were necessary, or needed to be that long.

It’s worth mentioning that Worm was a web serial, with two chapters released a week. It’s therefore understandable that the author wasn’t able to look months into the future and figure everything out in advance, or spend tons of time reviewing and refining every chapter before release. I guess it’s a shortcoming of the publishing approach, and which is ultimately responsible for such a low rating.

A minor criticism of the series; while capes use their powers throughout the series in a very well-thought out manner (probably how people would use them after having years to figure out all their applications), the lack of impact on regular society felt like a missed worldbuilding opportunity. If tinkers can build hyperdense electronics, or flying ships, or replace body parts, then how has none of this become part of every day life? If there are heroes that can manipulate metal just by touching it or perform controlled demolition of their environment, why are there no blue-collar parahumans working on construction sites? Why are all descriptions of cities and people’s lives essentially the same as they are now? This isn’t Harry Potter, where wizards hide their magic from filthy muggles. Tinkers are openly flaunting game-changing contraptions, and the only time I ever hear about their tech being put to good use is when a Tinker was planning to colonize mars (or something similar, I’m having a ton of trouble figuring out which of two characters this was and what the actual plan was).

So yeah, Worm is a superhero serial with original powers, clever characters, some amazing fights, good character development, and way too many fight scenes, so much so that it overshadows much of the good.