It takes guts to write a superhero prose novel. The genre is so inextricably tied to visual media in general and comics in particular that removing the visual element is always going to be a bit of a dicey prospect. So much of the genre's appeal is built around spectacle - the costumes, the battles, etc - and it can be difficult to replicate that in prose. Fortunately, Magno Girl is much more character-oriented than many of these stories, taking advantage of the fact that it's a novel, and Joe Canzano has an impressive ability for describing some truly ridiculous fight scenes.
If you've ever enjoyed an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, you'll probably enjoy the story here. It involves the titular Magno Girl and her biker ninja boyfriend Ron trying to foil a potentially world-ending plot revolving around poisoned pizza. It's full of the sort of weirdness that will be familiar to fans of Silver Age superhero stories, and as long as you can get on the book's admittedly zany wavelength, it's an extremely enjoyable read.
It definitely leaves the door open for a sequel, which would be very welcome, if only to give Canzano the opportunity to fine-tune his writing a little more. There's not much wrong with it for the most part: it's well-structured, the characters are engaging, flawed and likeable, and there are a few Chekhov's Guns whose payoffs are some of the best parts of the book. His descriptions could use a little work, though. Seemingly every t-shirt Magno Girl owns is "clingy", and she's apparently incapable of giving anything other than a "small" smile or a "short" laugh. And this is surely the first time in the history of fiction that someone's vagina has been described as "snazzy".
These are fairly minor problems, though, and easily corrected with the help of a decent thesaurus. Frankly, they're very easy to overlook when the book is as funny as Magno Girl is - it's almost magical realist in how no one thinks poison pizza plots and ninjas who frequently use fruit as weapons are in any way strange, and the fact that it's all played so straight without so much as a wink at the reader makes it all the funnier. Canzano's action scenes are a particular highlight because of how absurd they are, from pineapples and fish being used instead of swords to the increasingly bizarre martial arts techniques Ron has learned in his time, such as defeating an enemy by making them jealous with the "stare of the superior sex life".
There's also a lot of satire, and while it's not exactly subtle - more shillelagh than scalpel - there's no denying that it raises a lot of laughs. The entire supervillain plot is dependent on Americans being braindead consumer zombies, with superhero battles frequently surrounded by people eating hot dogs and cheering them on. And in Canzano's characterisation of almost every superhero as a raging egomaniac more keen on filming TV adverts and selling merchandise than actually fighting crime, we have a timely reminder of how unavoidably commercial the superhero genre is. There's just as much money to be made from Spider-Man toys as there is from the films, after all.
Superheroes have dominated comic books for decades, and based on the current evidence they may yet come to dominate the cinema. If you want to try a superhero story that's willing to be a bit different, and which reminds you that the main reason you like these stories is because they're meant to be fun, you should definitely give Magno Girl a look. If nothing else, we need more big-name female superheroes, and we have a great one here.