These super sons deserve better than this drab outing.

READ REVIEW

THE POLARSHIELD PROJECT

From the Super Sons series

The super duo of Jon Kent and Ian Wayne make their middle-grade debut.

The friendship/rivalry of Jonathan Kent (son of Lois Lane and Clark Kent) and Damian Wayne (son of Talia al Ghul and Bruce Wayne) has led to many silly and thrilling comic-book adventures, most notably in Peter J. Tomasi and Jorge Jimenez’s heartfelt and emotionally honest Super Sons series. Fans won’t find much resemblance here: Pearson has drastically reimagined Damian and Jonathan and moved the story to an alternate timeline with little to offer lovers of DC Comics lore. This is a book designed for newcomers, but it doesn’t make any exciting choices or craft thrilling action sequences to draw readers in. Jon and Damian (now going by Ian) live in a world haunted by the specter of climate change. Superman is dispatched on a mission to retrieve some dust from an asteroid that may help save the Earth. With Superman gone for months Jon is left to attend school in Wyndemere, where he’s quickly drawn into Ian Wayne’s orbit, and the teens bicker as they uncover a global conspiracy and partner with the mysterious Candace, a classmate with secrets that may be relevant. The dialogue is flat, the compositions are bland, and while the colors pop, there doesn’t seem to be much thought to how they contribute to the art as a whole. (Jon presents white; Ian has beige skin; and Candace is black.) The book lurches forward with little dramatic propulsion and ends on an infuriating cliffhanger.

These super sons deserve better than this drab outing. (Graphic adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4012-8639-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC Comics

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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