When the substitute librarian tries to kill you on the last day of school, it doesn’t bode well for summer break.
Seven months after narrowly defeating the supervillain Vex (Joshua Dread, 2012), Joshua Dread, secretly superpowered sixth grader (whose parents are the Dread Duo) is looking forward to a quiet summer with his normal best buddy, Milton, and their superstrong friend, Sophie. Their plans are thwarted when Joshua and Sophie receive invitations to Gyfted & Talented, a summer camp for superpowered teens. Unfortunately, Joshua’s parents (the Botanist and Dr. Dread), who have scaled back on villainy since finding out Sophie’s dad is their archnemesis, Captain Justice, think camp sounds like a good idea. Milton forges an invite, and the trio arrives to find it’s a training camp that intends to put together a group of superteens. When they go on their first mission with costumes and new supernames, it’s nearly a disaster. Joshua saves the day and becomes the darling of the media as the titular “Nameless Hero” (long story). When the secrets of Gyfted & Talented start to come out, things really get weird and dangerous. Bacon’s second features more superteen angst, celebrity problems and wry to goofy humor. The battle with the bad guy at the end is a bit of a letdown, but there’s no denying preteens will like this believable superworld that the obvious promise of the third installment will take them back to.
A superpowered thumbs up. (Fantasy. 9-12)