Vol 2, The Show Must Go On: illustrated by Rian Sygh
One day while the Backstagers are hanging out and playing games, they here cries for help that send them back into the magical world behind the theater. They discover the Heart of the Theater and run into Beckett’s old school crew from Penitent Angel. The Heart is a huge space with a ton of concentrated magic. Sasha’s “friend” Polaroid comes to explain that all theaters' backstages are connected, and all their paths lead to The Heart. This is where the true magic of the theater lives, and each of their spaces borrow from here to put on performances. Polaroid gives Jory a sketchbook that reveals the magic of the backstage, and then he threatens the two crews with releasing all the magic into the real world. Jory discovers that their faculty advisor knows more about the crew who disappeared in 1987, which included Polaroid. Through their Stage Managers, crews from across the world collect together to help stop Polaroid from destroying the magic of the theater.
The inclusivity that was present in the first book continues into this volume. Hunter and Jory are actually going to go on a date, which is interrupted by the major plot points of the story, and readers will surely feel the disappointment. However, Jory and Hunter get to share some relieved kisses and tender moments when they reunite after tense encounters. There is a subtle drop that Beckett is trans, and some readers might miss it if you’re not paying attention that the crew from Penitent Angel is all female. We get resolution for the Crew that was lost in 1987, which was a carryover plot line from the first volume. All in all, this is a sweet story that puts the power in friends helping one another, and pays homage to the mysteries and magic of theater. The artwork continues to be perfectly suited to the story with beautiful, bold coloring on the characters, and pastels for the magical world.
BOOM! Studios' rating was not available. I would rate this title suitable for grades 6 and up owing only to themes that can be slightly complicated for younger readers.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 6-12
Reviews of previous volumes in this series: vol 1
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Comicbooks, Friendship, LGBTQ+, Magic, Theater
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