From the Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights series , Vol. 3

Low-budget thrills for the Goosebumps set.

Creepy animatronic critters and troubled families link three graphic tales adapted from print tie-ins to a series of video games in this third series entry.

Furnished with slender storylines, the trio of stories—two featuring evil bunnies and the third, a maimed animatronic pirate fox who accurately predicts gruesome injuries for a hapless teen gamer—follow the contents of earlier volumes in reducing prose tales to sparely narrated graphic remakes that alternate bland scenarios with lurid dream sequences and climaxes. For all the supposed bloodshed, the gory bits, rendered as minor dribbles and smears, barely register visually even though one character is dismembered at the end by doctors who are harvesting his organs and another winds up impaled on some jagged stage scenery. Those two entries bookend a more benign story, “Bunny Call,” in which a restive dad rediscovers family values after spending a night protecting his kids from a summer camp prank that starts out merely tasteless—and then goes really wrong. The cast reads white with minor exceptions. Some cast members—human or otherwise—will be familiar to players of the titular game series. The straightforward art panels feature clean backgrounds and are rendered in muted, atmospheric shades.

Low-budget thrills for the Goosebumps set. (Graphic horror. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781338860467

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023


From the Giver Quartet series

A first-rate visual reframing: sensitive, artistically brilliant, and as charged as its enigmatic predecessor with profound...

An eerie graphic version of the Newbery Award–winning classic.

Russell (Murder Mysteries and Other Stories, 2015, etc.) pays no more attention than Lowry (Looking Back, 2016, etc.) did to continuity of detail or to justifying the counterintuitive notion that memories can be shed by transmitting them, but without taking significant liberties he skillfully captures the original’s full, creeping horror. By depicting human figures with uncommonly precise realism, bearing calm, smiling demeanors and moving through tidy 1950s style settings, he establishes an almost trite air of utopian normality at the outset…then proceeds to undermine it with disquieting (to say the least) incidents capped by an explicit view of Jonas’ serene dad “releasing” a supernumerary newborn by ramming a hypodermic into its head. He also neatly solves the color issue by composing his many small sequential scenes in blue pencil outlines with occasional pale washes—which makes Jonas’ disturbing ability to “see beyond,” from the red in an apple and a classmate’s hair to the garish orange memories the Giver downloads to his brain, startlingly vivid and presages the polychrome wilderness into which he ultimately vanishes. Jonas and the rest of the cast are uniformly light-skinned and generically European of feature, but that is explicitly established as part of the hideous scenario.

A first-rate visual reframing: sensitive, artistically brilliant, and as charged as its enigmatic predecessor with profound challenges to mind and heart. (interviews with the creators) (Graphic dystopian fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-544-15788-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018


Action-packed but fecklessly flat.

A young boy is flung into a steam-powered world as he searches for a way to save his lost father and an entire planet in Ford, Leslie, and de la Cruz’s debut collaboration.

Neglected and abused since his father Henry’s disappearance, young Arlo finds a strange machine and is thrown into an alternate world called Pother. New friends explain that Henry has been kidnapped and Arlo is also in serious danger. Two feuding factions—one worships a machine, the other an unseen deity—and spectral planet natives that inhabit the dead would be enough, but there’s also the malevolent corporate force from Earth called the Prerogative that is draining Pother’s natural resources and killing the planet. Worst of all? Arlo’s father is responsible for bringing it to Pother in the first place. Now Arlo must seek out the planet’s natives to save both his father and Pother. Despite lively art and a decent stab at steampunk worldbuilding, this graphic novel falls short thanks to an already overdone premise. Plot serves action rather than vice versa and sprints toward a sequel-desperate conclusion, leaving readers with underdeveloped characterization and a confused tangle of plot detail fragments. And even with the benefit of two planets to populate, the novel features a single, extremely peripheral, character of color.

Action-packed but fecklessly flat. (Graphic novel. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-50671-726-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Dark House

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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