Vol 1: The End and Everything After, illustrated by Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, letters by Clayton Cowles
Former cop Claire and her son Tommy are big fans of the stories of Adventureman and his squad of superhero friends, who protect a city that looks an awful lot like New York meets Gotham. The last Adventureman book left things on quite a cliffhanger that didn’t seem very favorable to the Super squad, so Claire challenges Tommy to come up with his own ending. Claire manages her boisterous family dynamic with the quiet of her late mother’s bookstore, both playing different games with her hearing aides. One day, a mysterious customer comes in and leaves an older, possibly first edition copy of Adventureman with Claire, and the fiction starts to bleed into her reality. Men made of bugs chase Claire, she finds a mysterious skyscraper she’s never noticed before, and relative strangers, who resemble fictional characters, begin to help Claire.
The beginning of this book will completely throw you off. Don’t worry, keep reading. You didn’t miss another volume, there wasn’t something that came before this, and it’ll all make sense soon. The introduction of Claire and her family is one of the most sincere, genuine beginnings of character development I’ve seen in a while. Claire's hearing loss is handled beautifully, with Cowles lettering changing to match her level of hearing - as she turns the volume down, the words become more faint; when she takes them out entirely, the speech bubbles have just the hint of words, enough so you know it wasn't just a misprint, but faint enough to show how little she hears without them. Because of the monstrous amount of set-up in the first issue of this volume (it's a whopping 58 pages, where a normal issue would be around 32), we don't cover a ton of mileage within the main storyline - the effect of which is that you aren't ready for the end of volume one, and you'll be waiting a while for the next volume.
The Dodsons' invest heavily in color palettes for their illustrations. The bad guys are surrounded by greens and purples, which the good guys keep themselves to earth-tones. Each of the super heroes are beautifully designed. The illustrators have also interwoven old pulp comic themes within their settings and character designs, and it pays dividends. This is a truly beautifully designed comic.
Image rates this comic for everyone, but the narration is a little more sophisticated than what would be in an elementary setting.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Edelweiss. This graphic novel will be on sale November 25, 2020.
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Comicbooks, Action Adventure, Family
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