Manga with a heavy dose of cute, this debut introduces a shy teenager who is transformed into a reckless heroine by a bicycle with unusual properties. Just a day or so after Aki come across an old bike in the garage that—with a mighty FWOOOOSH—changes her school uniform to high boots, a short dress and a snazzy helmet, a gang of masked bicyclists embarks on a crime spree. Somehow managing to overcome her reluctance, off Aki pedals to do battle. Outfitting her lissome young daredevil with a hot boyfriend/sidekick, a cheery kimono-clad Grandfather to fill in the back story and a “Spirit Bike” with a front fender that turns into a giant snake at need, a toy elephant’s head on the handlebars and the ability to zoom along at super speed, the author propels the tale through many sudden jumps and inset-crammed pages to a climactic race, the dismaying revelation that the gang’s leader is a member of her own family and a juicy closing clinch with the aforementioned sidekick. Bound on the left edge rather than the right, but otherwise indistinguishable from its imported cousins, this should find a ready crowd of action-oriented shojo fans. (Graphic novel. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7868-3676-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2006

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“Woohoo. Treasure Island, here we come!” So crows young Jim Hawkins in this notably lame and jumbled graphic adaptation of Stevenson’s classic. Crowding variously sized panels and sometimes-misplaced dialogue balloons atop one another, Kohlrus illustrates the tale with jumbles of generally static figures in ragged (but apparently freshly laundered) clothing and scenes of hard-to-follow action. The sound-bite dialogue is largely incidental to Jim’s severely truncated narrative, which is broken up into multiple captions on every page, includes unnecessary footnotes (“The Dry Tortugas are a small group of islands in the Gulf of Mexico”) and gives the whole outing a feeling of being told rather than shown. No competition for the robust adaptations of Tim Hamilton (2005) or Roy Thomas (2008), nor does it measure up to the standards set by the same publisher’s adaptation of Moby Dick, adapted by Lance Stahlberg and illustrated by Lalit Kumar Singh (ISBN: 978-93-80028-22-4). (Graphic fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: July 6, 2010

ISBN: 978-93-80028-21-7

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2010

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An action-packed, tongue-in-cheek romp fitted out with snarky dialogue, heroic fantasy tropes aplenty and a notably...


A supposed village lad kidnapped to stand in for the vanished prince he resembles rises to the challenge. More or less.

Set in a Darkling Realm of horned, bat-winged people, the tale takes young Seifer Tombchewer (his name inherited from an ancestor who went bonkers after eating “something poisonous that fell asleep in his porridge”) to the royal palace of Pandemonium, where he’s given the choice of temporarily masquerading as Prince Talon or being fed to “psycho carnage beasts.” Making the reasonable choice entails learning how to behave like an arrogant, selfish twit—as well as being mauled by “his” gigantic pet cat, surviving assassination attempts, outbelching the chieftain of a neighboring warrior clan and defeating an invading army. Fortunately, he does have allies, including his royal “sister” Princess Hypoxia and magic-wielding girlfriend-to-be Lady Carcassa, daughter of gambling addict Baron Canasta Malefica. Interspersing outsized GRNARGH! BLORP! SOOG! YAAAAAA! sound effects with scenes featuring sharp-featured, elegantly slender figures, debut illustrator Diaz crafts panels of Japanese comics–style art for Wooding’s somewhat less-than-earnest adventure story. The real prince’s continued absence, a hint of secrets in Seifer’s own past and the sudden arrival of “his” fiancée Lady Asphyxia point to sequels.

An action-packed, tongue-in-cheek romp fitted out with snarky dialogue, heroic fantasy tropes aplenty and a notably resilient protagonist. (Graphic novel. 11-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-25221-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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