In their latest exploit, the fourth-grade sleuths have a hot time countering the schemes of a clever dragon and saving their classmates from becoming spider snacks.
It’s a rollicking romp that’s not much for internal logic but provides opportunities aplenty for hair’s-breadth escapes plus encounters with creepy creatures such as giant spiders and lava sharks. When their school bus is hijacked, aptly named Tank, a troll with the soul of an engineer, and her goblin partner, narrator Fizz Marlow, find themselves in a race against time to recover a stolen crown before the outsized spider queen Azelia devours their captive class. Worse yet, the whole subterranean realm of Rockfall Mountain is in danger of being sucked into the hungry Abyss that lies below its lava lake. The crisis turns out to be the work of Firebane Drakeclaw, a shape-changing dragon whose tangled scheme (as he explains at length) involves creating an army of downtrodden swamp-dwellers in a bid for ultimate power. With help from allies both eight-legged and otherwise, the daring detectives derail his dastardly designs, reclaim the crown, and save their classmates (even kobold bully Rizzo Rawlins) from being slurped dry. Breaking frequently into single and sequential graphic panels done in an orange-and-gray color scheme, the caper features a cast that is devoid of humans but otherwise rich in diverse species and distinct characters.
“That’s what I call a fun field trip!” exclaims Fizz in the final panel. Series fans will agree. (Graphic mystery/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)