A second gathering of new graphic tales, diverse of plot and atmosphere but thematically linked by island settings and every bit as stellar as its predecessor (Explorer: The Mystery Boxes, 2012).
All seven anchor scary or exhilarating nautical adventures to metaphorical underpinnings. In Kibuishi’s own “The Fishermen,” for instance, an Ahab-like obsession with catching the big one leads a sailor into a cave that turns out to be a giant mouth. One young castaway meets a crab ghost with a massive “Carapace” (Jason Caffoe), and another bonds with an older version of herself in the enigmatic “Desert Island Playlist,” by Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier. In the eeriest entry, Chrystin Garland’s “The Mask Dance,” a young island girl is lured to join tiki-masked celebrants who turn out to be dead. Printed on coated stock that really shows off the rich, clean colors, each tale’s art is drawn in a different style but with easy-to-read figures, background details, dialogue and narrative. Each also ends with a rescue or a promising development, which gives the entire collection a buoyant tone.
First rate. (Graphic short story anthology. 7-12)