- Posted by Johanna on March 19, 2006 at 8:36 am
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- CREDITS: by Aaron Williams
- PUBLISHER: Dork Storm Press; $15.99 US
These humorous stories are based on a terrific concept: superpowered kids going to school to learn how to use their abilities. PS238 is an elementary school for these special kids, with faculty that include a magic-working illusionist and a technical wizard. The teachers need exceptional abilities help them deal with alien students and over-protective parents.
The students run the gamut, from Captain Clarinet, a Superboy type who just wants to play music, to the young Hulk-like Bernard. There’s also a boy speedster, the explosive Suzi Fusion, a couple of wannabe super-villains, and some parodies. For example, a Sandman-like boy appears mumbling, “I have been before, am now, and shall ever be.” when asked what his name is, so they call him Murphy.
Tyler doesn’t have any powers, but because his parents are superheroes, they’re convinced it’s only a matter of time. In the meantime, he’s in over his head in gym class. The stories take a playful approach to some of the genre conventions all readers are familiar with — costume changes, secret identities — and universal relationship issues, such as parents dealing with children who disrupt their lives.
Unfortunately, the book isn’t in color, so the only place we see the kids in their splendor is on the cover. The cartoony, open linework by Aaron Williams helps them look like children, though. They’re a little doughy, not quite fully-formed, with their time in the oven still ahead of them.
Discipline is a particular concern, given what these kids are capable of. One of the little super-villains, Zodon, floats around in an egg-shaped personal ship and has quite the potty mouth until an implanted microchip changes his swearing into non sequiturs and show tunes. His cynicism and educated insults help keep the book from being too sappy.
The children are adorable because they act like real kids, not tiny adults, but the real star is their teacher, Miss Kyle. She’s quite creative at outwitting them though nothing more than knowledge of why children do what they do. The result is a funny book with substance.