Four young visitors to the National Air and Space Museum scotch an attempt to rewrite the entire history of aeronautics in this Smithsonian-centric series opener.
Stunned to find all the powered aircraft in the museum suddenly switched out for balloons, science-fair winners Eric, Josephine, Dominique, and Ajay are recruited by a mysterious gent (“I AM the Smithsonian”) to travel—holographically clad in period costume—back to 1909’s Hudson-Fulton Celebration in New York. It seems that time-traveling meddlers with holographic disguises of their own are fixing to turn public opinion against heavier-than-air flight by deliberately crashing the craft belonging to Glenn Curtiss and the Wright brothers. Brisk rounds of snooping and pursuit lead to the baddies being unmasked if never identified (maybe in a future episode). The children go on to save the day with help, plus infodumps, from their interactive wristband computers and some intrepid piloting by the Wrights’ undeservedly lesser-known sister, Katharine. Though dialogue balloons sometimes get tangled, the figures in Nielsen’s neatly squared-off panels dash vigorously through their paces, and the artist renders both historical figures and background settings in accurate detail. Eric and Josephine are white, Dominique is African-American, and Ajay is probably South Asian.
There are more than a few loose threads left a-dangle, but this lightweight adventure packs a decent quantity of historical fill. (Graphic fantasy. 8-11)