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SMASH by Chris A.  Bolton

SMASH

Trial By Fire

By Chris A. Bolton (Author) , Kyle Bolton (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5596-9
Publisher: Candlewick

In this webcomic’s print opener, a 9-year-old acquires superpowers but still has issues, such as his fear of heights and the difficulty of sneaking out of the house at night to fight crime.

Without acquiring visible muscle, Andrew suddenly finds himself superstrong and supertough after the long career of Defender, the superhero he worships, comes to a sudden end in a mighty explosion. Discovering that ambition and a dorky homemade outfit doth not a superhero make, with some practice, Andrew nonetheless takes up some skills. He learns how to fly without running into things (deservedly acquiring along the way his moniker, “Smash”) and to survive blasts and bullets while nabbing robbers and other malfeasants, costumed or otherwise. Unfortunately, he still has school, a mercurial big brother, parental rules and a bully problem (which he’s savvy enough not to try solving the simplest way). That’s not to mention the Magus, an archvillain out to regain the transferable superpowers he claims the Defender stole from him years ago. The Boltons provide easy-to-follow panels filled with action, wide eyes, banter (“Not another step or it’s bye-bye puberty!”), and comically exaggerated differences between the puny (looking!) caped crusader and his much buffer adversaries. Smash battles his way through robots and other minions to a climactic and rousingly destructive, if inconclusive, climax that, natch, paves the way for sequels.

Three cheers for the underdog. Maybe in future episodes he’ll acquire better homework habits. (Graphic fantasy. 9-11)