BROTHERS UNITE by Justin Larocca Hansen


From the "Secondhand Heroes" series, volume 1
Age Range: 9 - 12
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Secondhand items bestow magical powers upon two young brothers.

Tuck and Hudson Finch, two suburban white boys, laugh off the fact that their mother buys them a scarf and umbrella at a neighbor’s estate sale. However, the boys quickly learn that the items give them vast superpowers, allowing them to fly and also serving as shields and/or weapons depending on the situation. They vow to use their powers for good but soon find themselves fighting an unexpected foe: their seemingly meek history teacher. This initially seems to be a very boilerplate—and outdated—superhero trope, in which adolescent boys learn to control powerful, magical items to save the world (or, at least, their sleepy burg) with girls fawning over their mysterious, masked charms. The plot, however, takes a hard turn and jarringly veers into a tale of time travel. Suburbia quickly dissolves into a medieval-themed land where dragons fight alongside men (women are notably few in battle scenes), and anachronisms further muddy the landscape: the villagers can easily understand the pejorative form of “jerk” but question “bust a cap.” The panels are rendered in a watercolor palette that somehow manages to look both vibrant and curiously washed-out all at once and adds to the diluted feel of the novel.

Cardboard and convoluted. (Graphic adventure. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 5th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-399-18671-4
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2016


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