Trans teen Barney’s new job solves one problem but creates a series of otherworldly challenges he did not see coming.
Barney’s friend Norma, a girl of South Asian descent who avoids connecting with people, helps him get a job as a janitor at Dead End, a theme park haunted house. Barney assures Norma that everything is fine at home, but once the park closes he looks around for a place to sleep. Barney and his dog, Pugsley, find out the hard way that the elevator in Dead End doubles as a portal to hell. Demons, ghosts, and angels from other planes arrive throughout the story, each with an agenda. Together, Barney and Norma (assisted by Pugsley) fight various beings while dealing with their emotions in the human realm. Norma confronts her social anxiety with the help of hijabi friend Badyah Hassan, and Barney navigates a potential romantic relationship with Logan Nguyen. The art is imaginative and engaging, with rich, evocative color schemes. With time travel, demonic possession, monsters, magic spells, and fights between creatures of pure sadness and pure happiness, there is never a dull moment—but in the realm of human emotion, there are relatable ones. Readers who aren’t dizzied by the action or put off by the multiple levels of destruction will be intrigued.
A wild ride. (Graphic novel. 13-18)