Kid comic creators George Beard and Harold Hutchins (now with added maturity!) are thrilled to present readers with the next installment of their co-written graphic-novel series.
A six-page recap of backstory and prior events helps situate readers who might be unfamiliar with the saga, and from there on out the action and the laughs are nonstop. Three loosely connected plot threads dominate. Petey the jailcat’s revolutionary aspirations are cut short when he receives his pardon, but now he struggles to connect with his overly optimistic son and to fend off the abuses of his lowlife father. Dog Man, meanwhile, must learn to focus after one fouled-up chase too many, but the training has its own dire consequences. Meanwhile, a villainous trio and an equally villainous mad scientist find their plans for world domination thwarted again and again. There is a moral, along the lines of being, but more importantly doing, good, but it’s never forced upon readers. Pilkey’s signature style revels in its wackiness. Panels with a single-color gradient background vary in size, and bold black outlines and hilariously full-face expressions make the characters pop. Several full-page panels of a star-studded sky are absolutely breathtaking. The various plots, though they might seem shallow at first, still make for a gripping read. Extensive backmatter, including in-story news, drawing tutorials, and “authors’ ” notes, rounds out the fun. Human characters are diverse.
Weird and unabashedly joyful. (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)