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THE MIGHTY 12 by Jr. Smith


Superheroes of Greek Myth

by Jr. Smith & illustrated by P. Craig Russell

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-316-01043-6
Publisher: Little, Brown

Writing in hip-hop cadences and with a fine disregard for exact rhymes, Smith introduces a dozen Olympians, plus Cerberus and Medusa, in verses paired to melodramatic, superhero-style portraits inked and colored by veteran comics-artist Russell. Between an opening overview (“Playing people like pawns / in a grand game of chess / the gods of Olympus / infinitely test / assorted mortals / while testing each other, / like Hades, / Zeus, / and Poseidon, / true blood brothers . . . ”) and a closing Who’s Who that lists Special Powers and other attributes, readers will get some oblique references to various myths. However, more clearly the repeated message is that they’d better behave and pray that they never draw any immortal’s attention, amorous or otherwise. Discreetly positioned but at best scantily clad, the gods, from Zeus—posed in wrath like the God of Michelangelo’s Last Judgment—to half-mortal Dionysus, have never looked so ripped, nor the goddesses Artemis, Aphrodite, Athena and Hera (the “Queen of Mean”) so voluptuous. Still, an emphatic, beat-heavy read-aloud of the verses may provide the more memorable experience here for young audiences. (source list) (Mythology/poetry. 10-13)