Short Stories 366:285 — “Iron Justice Versus the Fiends of Evil,” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Any time I bump into Silvia Moreno-Garcia in an anthology, I immediately perk up and become chipper, as I know I’m in for a great ride. And to find said ride in Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories was all the more exciting, because, I mean: supers, Canadians and Silvia Moreno-Garcia? Yes, please. And I was not at all let down. We meet Pepe, a retired luchador and journalist both, who in his younger days as a luchador also fought the forces of evil (vampires, for one). He and his partner—oh, yeah, Pepe is gay—lived what feels like a good life, but now he’s alone, and he’s been called to Vancouver by a friend who moved there, who was also a fighter and who needs his help.

The friend is fighting cancer (and she believes she’s in a losing battle, or at least running down the clock), but has decided a spate of strange events (read: single feet washing up on the shores of Vancouver) might have a supernatural and evil source, something that she believes is being blamed on the Tcho Tcho of the region, and as they both know what happens when people have a scapegoat, they decide to get involved one more time, with the single lead they have on one of the victims who was investigating the links to the Tcho Tcho, and studying them in general (as it was his own paternal heritage).

What follows would be perfectly at home in a pulp superhero thriller, complete with heinous creature/deity from beyond, and a battle with flesh being shorn and the stakes somewhere around “the souls of innocents” and “evil gaining power if we fail.” That the protagonists are retirement age, queer, disabled, and/or immigrants is such a refreshing piece of the puzzle I cannot tell you. I loved this one—another reminder I need to seek out and make sure I’ve nabbed all of Moreno-Garcia’s work—and this anthology continues to shine.

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