A decent-enough offering, but there are plenty of other fish in the sea.

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MERMIN

A goofy indie comic that reads like Aquaman told though James Kochalka’s whimsical lens doesn’t quite stay afloat.

When Mermin, a friendly green sea creature, washes up on the beach, siblings Claire, Pete and Toby can't believe their eyes. After Mermin uses his superstrength and saves Pete from a vicious shark, Pete repays the favor by letting Mermin stay with him. Truly a fish out of water, Mermin tries to adapt to life with humans on dry land but naturally struggles to fit in. On top of this, a gang of renegade sea creatures tracking Mermin are determined to bring him back to the sea, for reasons that are never explained in this volume. First volumes are often heavy in exposition, but this one offers little else, relying more on antics tenuously strung together than building a cohesive, engrossing storyline. Too many unanswered questions hinder any real fulfillment: Why would Mermin have superstrength on land? Why are the bad guys chasing him? What is he running from? Weiser maddeningly offers his readers nothing on this front; not even the tiniest hint. However, readers looking for a funny, bubble-gum comic with art vibrant as a Saturday-morning cartoon and action to match will find that this suffices.

A decent-enough offering, but there are plenty of other fish in the sea. (Graphic fantasy/adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-934964-98-9

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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