This latest installment in History Comics presents the events leading up to and including the accident of the Challenger. This is done through a group of four students and their teacher, set 400 years into the future, where the students are tasked with a history report on Challenger Day, a holiday commemorating the lives lost during the space craft's explosion. The narrative is comprised of four parts: history of the space program, where particular attention is placed on the Space Shuttle program in particular; the history of Challenger crew, where each member shares their biographical information through the use of AR technology in the students' classroom; the accident itself, presented by the teacher and given all due gravitas; and the Rogers Commission, told largely by Richard Feynman through AR again.
The setting of a future Mars space station is a fitting space to explore something that to us is relatively recent history. The students, for the most part, give significant respect to the subject matter knowing the outcome of the launch. There is one character whose commentary is slightly unnecessary. At one point, in telling about waining public support for the space program, she criticizes 20th century humans and calls them "stupid" for even entertaining the idea of discontinuing the space program. It did also feel slightly odd to have members of the Challenger crew participate as characters, especially when the future students acknowledge to each other that these people will not survive the mission the crew is teaching them about.
Aside from the color commentary, the events of the Challenger mission, disaster, and the investigation afterwards are presented with clarity and fairly. Students who have yet to get to this moment in history during their studies will appreciate this title because it is easy to read and provides a great overview of an important moment in our space exploration and part of the human experience.
Sara's Rating: 7/10
Suitability Level: Grades 5-8
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley. This graphic novel will be on sale October 27, 2020.
Tags: Rating: 7/10, Suitability: Elementary School, Suitability: Middle School, Graphic Novel, History, Science,
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