SIDEKICKS

The author who made a splash with The Big Splash (2008) takes the “costumed superheroes” genre out for a joyride, and anyone who comes along will never read comics the same way again. Six years as Bright Boy, sidekick to crime-fighting superhero Phantom Justice, has left Scott a teenager with no life, no friends and revealing yellow tights that show the news cameras every bit of the involuntary hard-on he gets after heroically rescuing a beautiful victim. Then another seemingly devastating development: He and arch-nemesis Monkeywrench (Dr. Chaotic’s sidekick) both lose their masks in battle, and Monkeywrench turns out to be not only a girl, but one he knows from school. This leads to a giddy, liberating romance, as well as cool costume makeovers and sensational publicity after the cameras catch some of that love action. It also earns them death sentences from their respective employers, who turn out to be very different from their public images and not at all willing to be edged out of the limelight by supporting characters. Scott’s present-tense narration keeps pedal to the metal from start to finish, and readers will be quickly won over as the two super-strong, super-fast, super-likable protagonists face both inner conflicts and a Dark Knight–ish villain as deeply psychotic and scary as he is super powerful. Look for more twists than a pretzel factory and a possible sequel. (Superhero fantasy. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8109-9803-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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Without that frame, this would have been a fine addition to the wacked-out summer-camp subgenre.

I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS

Survival camp? How can you not have bad feelings about that?

Sixteen-year-old nerd (or geek, but not dork) Henry Lambert has no desire to go to Strongwoods Survival Camp. His father thinks it might help Henry man up and free him of some of his odd phobias. Randy, Henry’s best friend since kindergarten, is excited at the prospect of going thanks to the camp’s promotional YouTube video, so Henry relents. When they arrive at the shabby camp in the middle of nowhere and meet the possibly insane counselor (and only staff member), Max, Henry’s bad feelings multiply. Max tries to train his five campers with a combination of carrot and stick, but the boys are not athletes, let alone survivalists. When a trio of gangsters drops in on the camp Games to try to collect the debt owed by the owner, the boys suddenly have to put their skills to the test. Too bad they don’t have any—at all. Strand’s summer-camp farce is peopled with sarcastic losers who’re chatty and wry. It’s often funny, and the gags turn in unexpected directions and would do Saturday Night Live skits proud. However, the story’s flow is hampered by an unnecessary and completely unfunny frame that takes place during the premier of the movie the boys make of their experience. The repeated intrusions bring the narrative to a screeching halt.

Without that frame, this would have been a fine addition to the wacked-out summer-camp subgenre. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4022-8455-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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A charming adaptation.

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

From the Manga Classics series

A miscommunication leaves Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert responsible for a plucky, effusive orphan girl instead of the boy they’d expected to help maintain their farm.

Retold in traditional manga format, with right-to-left panel orientation and detailed black-and-white linework, this adaptation is delightfully faithful to the source text. Larger panels establish the idyllic country landscape while subtle text boxes identify the setting—Prince Edward Island, Canada, in the 1870s. The book follows redheaded Anne Shirley from her arrival at Green Gables at 11 to her achievement of a college scholarship. In the intervening years, Anne finds stability, friendship, personal growth, and ambition in Avonlea and in the strict but well-intentioned Cuthbert siblings’ household. The familiar story is enhanced by the exciting new format and lush illustrations. A variety of panel layouts provides visual freshness, maintaining reader interest. Backmatter includes the floor plan of the Green Gables house, as well as interior and exterior views, and notes about research on the actual location. A description of the process of adapting the novel to this visual format indicates the care that was taken to highlight particular elements of the story as well as to remain faithful to the smallest details. Readers who find the original text challenging will welcome this as an aid to comprehension and Anne’s existing fans will savor a fresh perspective on their beloved story. All characters appear to be White.

A charming adaptation. (Graphic fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947808-18-8

Page Count: 308

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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