Codex Black: A Fire Among Clouds

IDW. (Codex Black: Bk. 1). Apr. 2023. 320p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781684059591.
Gr 6 Up–Inside a hollow mountain, a masked group gathers, and a forbidden ritual is completed. Darkness enters the world, as readers learn the Triple Alliance of the Nahua cities of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan aims to conquer the known world. A young Mexica warrior, Itzcacalotl, goes off on his own to explore, leaving a marching army behind, and falls into a trap. In the small village of Quie Yelaag, Zapotec teen Donají celebrates her 15th birthday by heading out into the world to find her missing father. Accompanying her will be a god named Chicahualizteotl, who inhabits her poncho and grants her tremendous strength. These two adventurers are bound to cross paths, and when they do, their adventure will be legendary, and world-changing, even pitting them against gods themselves. Set in 15th-century Mesoamerica, this graphic novel was originally a webcomic hosted on Tapas. The author/illustrator, who is based in Mexico City, is also the creator of the 2017 animated short film Donají & the Magical Poncho, which serves as a prequel to this story. The art style is vibrant and colorful, capturing the imagination and serving the story well.
VERDICT With roots in Mesoamerican mythology, this fantastic tale will charm any reader. Its connection to history and tradition makes it wonderful for teaching while being entertaining with its adventure.

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