The multicultural members of the hapless Jazz Pandas dodgeball team try to win while dealing with their personal issues.
New member Tomás, who is Latinx, is looking for a place to belong, but his athletic abilities are sorely lacking. Drew, the African-American female team captain, has skills but is under stress from all the extracurricular activities she is doing for her college applications. Elsie, an athletic white teen, wants to play well but misses the romantic relationship she once shared with Drew. East Asian Judith is a fierce competitor, while Huck, who is Deaf, communicates through his phone. Amardeep is Sikh and probably their best player, but he is often missing. In addition to their losing record and internal squabbles, the team has a reputation for cheating, something that led Judith’s brother to quit. Drew decides to give up being captain, and the role falls to Tomás as they head into the championship tournament a bit banged up and about to face their rivals, the Kettle Balls—but Chase’s return gives them a boost. This is an action-packed comic with vibrant, bright, full-color drawings in a style that highlights the constant movement of the sport. Multiple relationships and the team backstory are revealed without slowing down the plot, and the variety of ethnicities and genders apparent through the drawings also add to the appeal.
Readers will look forward to the next volume. (Graphic novel. 14-18)