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THE TELL-TALE START by Gordon McAlpine


From the Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe series, volume 1

by Gordon McAlpine & illustrated by Sam Zuppardi

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-670-78491-2
Publisher: Viking

Two twins so nearly interchangeable that they even share each other’s thoughts nearly fall victim to a mad scientist in this mildly farcical series kickoff.

Despite genius-level intellects, the young Poes little suspect that their every move has been surreptitiously recorded since birth by crazed nuclear physicist S. Pangborn Perry. Convinced that they are living embodiments of quantum entanglement, he intends to kill one and enslave the other to open a channel of communication with the afterlife. McAlpine first establishes the twins’ bona fides as pranksters by having them turn their Baltimore basement into a chamber of horrors to cow a gang of bullies. He then sends them on a road trip to a supposed Oz-themed amusement park in Kansas, where Perry lurks with their kidnapped cat, Roderick Usher. Along the way, the lads cotton on to the fact that nefarious doings are afoot thanks to garbled warnings from their ancestral namesake, who watches over them from the not-quite-Heavenly office that generates fortune-cookie fortunes. In a climax filled with flying stage monkeys and falling counterweights, they scotch Perry’s plot—at least for this episode. Occasional letters, journal entries and text messages, as well as small, scribbly ink sketches fill out and add visual breaks to the narrative.

Middle-grade fans of L.L. Samson’s Enchanted Attic series will enjoy this, though it’s less clever in its twists and literary references.

(Adventure. 10-12)