A girl and her grouchy cat are thrust into the middle of an undersea war.
Vietnamese-American Trot loves to surf with her one-eyed rescue cat, Cap’n Bill, as her immigrant grandfather fishes from the pier. Unfortunately, Grandpa has dementia. After he wanders off from his fishing spot and gets lost one day, Trot and Grandpa aren’t allowed to go to the beach anymore. Naturally, Trot breaks the rules and goes surfing anyway. Wiping out on a huge wave, Trot and Cap’n Bill descend right into the middle of a fight between the Sea Sirens and the Serpents. With a little help from Siren magic, Trot and her cat—whose querulous meows become understood as English (“JUST a cat?”)—and, later, Grandpa stay longer than they expect, getting ever more entwined in the underwater world and war. Inspired by L. Frank Baum’s The Sea Fairies (1911), Chu and Lee create an impressive graphic fantasy with adventure, danger, and magic. Elaborate linework (reminiscent of John R. Neill’s) and a vibrant pearlescent palette bring the underwater kingdom and all its fantastical creatures to life. Trot’s relationship with her grandfather forthrightly addresses the seriousness of dementia and the effects it has on a family. From a plotting standpoint, the Siren and Serpent war wraps up rather quickly, but a “to be continued” panel promises further underwater escapades for Trot and her curmudgeonly cat.
A fast-paced beginning to a stunning new under-the-sea graphic series. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)