February 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Superheroes, Royalty, and a Dystopian Adaptation | YA Graphic Novels

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redstarTamaki, Jillian. SuperMutant Magic Academy. 224p. Drawn & Quarterly. May 2015. pap. $22.95. ISBN 9781770461987.

Gr 9 Up –This quirky solo work from Caldecott- and Printz-winning graphic novelist Tamaki collects strips from her long-running webcomic about a school for mutants and witches into one mostly cohesive anthology. Riffing off popular phenomena, such as Harry Potter and the X-Men, this title sets teen angst-y situations in a world populated with cat-eared prom queens, the Everlasting Boy, and superpowered jocks. Most of the strips are a page-long, with the exception of the never-before-seen 40-page story arc that concludes the series. While at times these snippets may confuse readers because of their brevity and often weighty existential themes, these snapshots often center on the same cast of characters, each of whom teens get to know more deeply by the book’s end. The mostly black-and-white art is divided in a range of single, full-page to six panels, and rare bursts of color are deftly used to moving effect. Marsha, the misanthropic witch with a crush on her female best friend; Frances, the boundary-pushing artist; and Cheddar, the athlete trying to find the meaning of life, among others, stand out as the more fully developed protagonists, but readers will find bits of themselves in many of the realistic characters. Poking fun at the “Chosen One” mythos, Tamaki has created a stellar graphic novel that combines her slice-of-life expertise and clean, uncluttered art style. VERDICT A must-have volume reminiscent of Alan Moore’s Watchmen (DC Comics, 1987) and her and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer (First Second, 2014) in sensibility and Raina Telgemeier’s works in appearance.–Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal

redstarWilson, G. Willow. Ms. Marvel: Generation Why. illus. by Jacob Wyatt & Adrian Alphona. 2. 136p. (Ms. Marvel: Vol. 2). Marvel. 2015. pap. $15.99. ISBN 9780785190226.

Gr 6 Up –The second installment of the “Ms. Marvel” series picks up with boisterous Kamala Khan continuing her hunt for Jersey City’s newest villain, The Inventor. She stumbles upon a suspicious sewer drain that leads her to deadly robots, giant alligators, her hero Wolverine, and none other than the nemesis himself—a cockatiel-human hybrid, genetically cloned from Thomas Edison’s DNA. Kamala also discovers that her newly acquired powers are far from a fluke and that she might be superhuman after all, thanks to some more familiar faces in the Marvel Universe. In a disturbing final standoff, the source of The Inventor’s “clean energy” is revealed, leading our heroine to realize that her generation needs a voice now more than ever. Packed with just as much action, snark, and plot twists as its predecessor, this second entry might be even more enjoyable than the first, as it begins to tackle the fraught concept of “the new generation,” and whether technology keeps teens plugged into the world, or tuned out. Wyatt and Alphona’s vibrant and textured artwork complements Kamala’s brave, yet compassionate nature, while perfectly showcasing her “elastic” talents. VERDICT Fans of Ms. Marvel will not be disappointed in this exciting continuation. A worthy addition to any library’s comic collection.–Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

YA Graphic Novels

DeConnick, Kelly Sue. Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster, More. illus. by David Lopez. 136p. (Captain Marvel). $17.99. ISBN 9780785190134.

Wilson, G. Willow. Ms. Marvel: No Normal. illus. by Adrian Alphona. 120p. (Ms. Marvel). $15.99. ISBN 9780785190219.

ea vol: ebook available. Vol. 1 Marvel. 2014. pap.

Gallagher, Monica. Part-Time Princesses. illus. by Monica Gallagher. 168p. ebook available. Oni. 2015. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781620102176.

Lasko-Gross, Miss. Henni. illus. by Miss Lasko-Gross. 168p. Z2 Comics. 2015. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781940878027.

Lu, Marie. Legend: The Graphic Novel. adapted by Leigh Dragoon. illus. by Kaari. 160p. (A Legend Novel). Putnam. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9780399171895.

Naifeh, Ted. Princess Ugg. illus. by Warren Wucinich & Ted Naifeh. 120p. (Princess Ugg: Vol. 1). ebook available. Oni. 2014. pap. $15.99. ISBN 9781620101780.

Quinn, Jason. The Kaurava Empire: The Vengeance of Ashwatthama. illus. by Sachin Nagar. 80p. (The Kaurava Empire: Vol. 2). Campfire. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9789381182000.

Shiomi, Chika. Yukarism. tr. from Japanese by John Werry. illus. by Chika Shiomi. 184p. (Yukarism: Vol. 1). ebook available. Viz Media. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781421575902.

Tanaka, Meca. Meteor Prince. 200p. (Meteor Prince: Vol. 1). Viz Media. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781421579085.

This article was published in School Library Journal's May 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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