Funny and clever, but most likely to only satisfy fans who have been with the gang since the beginning.

THE CASE OF THE LONELY ONE

From the Bad Machinery series , Vol. 4

A group of students at a British school all become friends with a strange new boy who eats onions; one student suspects something odd’s afoot and must discover the truth before it’s too late.

Shauna, Lottie, and Mildred are all second-years at Griswalds Grammar, ready to tackle a new term. This year, however, a new student—orange-haired, onion-eating Lem—has arrived, and despite his aloofness and strangeness, he’s slowly winning over the student body. In fact, soon Mildred and Lottie have fallen under his spell. Shauna is instantly suspicious, since every student befriended by Lem identically affirms that Lem is a "right good laugh when you get to know him." She takes up her cause with a group of bespectacled loners, and suddenly Lem and his secrets might not be her biggest problem. This small-press charmer, based on an ongoing webcomic, is a stylish jumble of pop-culture references, sly humor, eye-catching characters, mystery—and, oddly enough, aliens. As the fourth volume in the series, the mystery itself stands alone well enough, but an abrupt and ambiguous ending may frustrate new readers who aren’t already invested in the series.

Funny and clever, but most likely to only satisfy fans who have been with the gang since the beginning. (Graphic mystery/sci-fi. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62010-212-1

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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A light choice for those seeking a fairy-tale adventure.

HEARTLESS PRINCE

From the Heartless Prince series , Vol. 1

Princess Evony fights a witch to save the prince she loves.

Orphaned as a baby when a witch attacked her kingdom, Evony was raised by the royal family of neighboring Gallea, which is protected by a magic barrier tied to the heart of its prince. Nineteen years later, the witch returns to steal the prince’s heart, and Evony comes to the rescue—and learns the truth about her own past. After Evony’s adventures with witches, magical creatures, and a blind seer, a small cliffhanger prepares readers for the next installment. The graphic novel is drawn in a recognizably modern Disney style with the clear influence of Japanese manga. Our heroine fights using two sickles and wearing a short, fluttery skirt and thigh-high, high-heeled boots, an outfit reminiscent of Sailor Moon’s. The artist uses color skillfully to create setting and mood, but the art lacks polish overall, and the characters’ faces, in particular, can be awkward. This is unlikely to bother casual younger readers, but it prevents the volume from shining. Though the story is fun and will appeal to those who appreciate magic, sword fights, and princesses who save princes, the story is not especially original or riveting. All the characters appear White.

A light choice for those seeking a fairy-tale adventure. (Graphic fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-02835-6

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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Taking advantage of a very fast-growing fan base, this outing aims to expand Olatunji’s branded empire with a video...

KUNG FU HERO AND THE FORBIDDEN CITY

A COMEDYSHORTSGAMER GRAPHIC NOVEL

YouTube sensation ComedyShortsGamer takes his signature blend of hilarity and hijinks on an unbelievable journey into the fantastical Beijing underground with his brother/nemesis, KSI.

With over 9 million subscribers and 3 billion views on his YouTube channel, Olatunji has become an icon of sorts for his idiosyncratic mix of gamer culture, internet pranks, and viral challenges. First published in the U.K. in 2017, this graphic novel allows Olatunji to bring some of the more costly “crazy ideas that go on in [his] head” into print, embracing the adolescent ridiculousness that brought him and his brother international fame. The plot: In an effort to bring the family together—and get the boys away from video games—the Olatunjis take a family trip to Beijing, where one intricate Deji-led prank leads the Triad crime syndicate to believe he may have heroic kung-fu powers and pose a threat to their takeover of the Forbidden City. All this is further complicated with a stereotypical (if not just downright problematic) pseudo-Chinese mythological quest that has world-ending implications. These characters might as well have been stolen from bad gamer archetypes: the “smokin’ hot love interest,” the street punks and the crime boss with “bad ass haircuts,” and let’s not forget Shi—a beer-drinking, cigar-smoking, woman-ogling, “very inappropriate”–talking, animated Chinese lion dog statue. A clue to the tale’s end is noted in Deji’s introductory character bio: “It’s usually some freaky twist of fate that gets Deji out of sticky situations.” This whole ordeal seems nothing but a sticky situation.

Taking advantage of a very fast-growing fan base, this outing aims to expand Olatunji’s branded empire with a video game–inspired graphic fantasy but delivers nothing more than cheap prepubescent thrills. (Graphic fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4091-7428-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Trapeze/Hachette

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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