Ben Braver: superhero or superzero?
With best friend Finn moved away, Ben Braver has spent the summer binge-watching Adam West–era Batman, playing video games alone, and reading comics…and wishing to be a hero. When he responds to a cry for help, the resultant conflict with school bully (and evidently supervillain) Dexter Dunn leaves Ben frozen—literally. Ben is whisked away from the hospital by mysterious, old Donald Kepler, who invites Ben to Kepler Academy, “a secret school for kids with special abilities,” hinting Ben may have “abilities” of his own. Once Ben’s sure it’s not an elaborate prank, he agrees, wondering what his superpower…er, “ability" will be when it manifests. However, Kepler Academy is no school for training heroes à la the Xavier Institute of X-Men fame; aside from ordinary classes, Kepler trains its students not to use their powers. While Ben tries to figure out why Kepler recruited him, he and his fireball-belching roommate, Noah, and their small-animal–controlling friend, Penny, uncover a mystery. Can they figure out what’s causing students to act like zombies (and eat worms!)? With this title, Emerson launches a new series narrated by sarcastic sixth-grader Ben. The inline comics proffer punchlines and extra laughs (some are metacomments on the action of the tale); in the illustrations, black-haired Ben and blonde Penny are depicted with light skin and Noah with dark. Fans of superhero fiction will laugh out loud and identify with the aggressively regular Ben.
Just the right mix of mystery and kooky fun. (Graphic/adventure hybrid. 7-12)