- Posted by Johanna on May 31, 2014 at 6:31 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by J. Torres & Dean Trippe
- PUBLISHER: Oni Press; $12.99 US
I’m disappointed that I don’t like the Power Lunch series more than I do, since the creators, J. Torres and Dean Trippe, are two great people.
As established in the previous book, Power Lunch: First Course, Joey gets superpowers from the foods he eats, unless they’re white. Here, he struggles with not being a very good soccer player. His friend Jerome encourages him to use his powers to be better, but Joey resists giving himself an unfair advantage.
(Jerome knows his secret, and in my favorite part of the series, is drawn to look remarkably like old-timey Jimmy Olsen, with red hair, freckles, and a bow tie.)
The power setup is a great concept, but so little is done with it. Or perhaps it’s just that I’m way too old to be part of their audience, who likely won’t have seen this type of plot thousands of times before. Still, I don’t believe that books for kids should talk down to them; the best ones are also enjoyable by adults. This one was too simplistic for me, but then, I’m not in middle school. (I’m assuming that’s roughly the age group targeted, since I didn’t see a recommended age level on the book, which is a help when dealing with material for younger readers.)
Since the story here is all about the soccer team, the only female character portrayed at all is Joey’s mom, who appears on one page to provide a plot device. Otherwise, the world shown — even down to the game audience — is completely male. That won’t bother some people, who may be looking for more boy-focused books for their male children, but I found it oddly old-fashioned.
Trippe’s images are lovely, with particularly strong lines as a design feature, but they’re also static. They tell the story, but there’s no sense of movement from one panel to another; instead, to my eyes, it’s like looking at a series of snapshots. Similarly, the characters look overly posed.
The book’s second conflict is about how to defeat two bully players, which provides a self-defense motivation to use the powers. It’s clever, but it doesn’t help kid readers learn better how to solve these kinds of situations themselves. Still, it’s a fantasy, so perhaps I’m asking too much of it to teach a lesson as well. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)