Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures by J. Torres and J. Bone

There are three Alison Dare adventures included in this collection. Spoilers ahead.

In the first adventure, "Alison Dare and the Arabian Knights" Alison starts rummaging around during an archeaological expedition while her parents are gone and unearths an old lamp. It contains, of course, a genie and Alison gets busy with her wishes. She brings her friends to join her - and they are extremely irritated at having their summers interrupted. She wishes for adventure, just like the Arabian Nights and gets....1001 Arabian knights. Finally, things get so out of hand that she has to wish everything back the way it was. The whole genie plotline is pretty old and well-used, although the characters brought a fresh attitude to it. I was mildly irritated to see, once again, the short pudgy character with glasses is the brain. Just like Scooby-Doo. *takes a closer look*. Um....yeah, Dot looks an awful lot like Velma, come to think of it.

The second adventure, "Alison Dare and the Secret of the Blue Scarab" is the origin story of Alison's father, superhero the Blue Scarab, which she narrates to her friends Wendy and Dot. Originally a librarian with unbelievably well-developed shoulders and a collection of lines that wouldn't disgrace a boy's adventure story from the 50s, Alan Dodd's attempt to rescue a young archeaological student named Alice (with a handy famous father) puts him in contact with ancient forces and he becomes the Blue Scarab, fighting for the right. And marries Alice, of course.

The third adventure, "Alison Dare and the Mummy Child" bring the whole family up against Baron von Baron, Alice's old Nazi nemesis. His outrageously cheesy accent isn't the only thing nasty about him, and he tries to wreck Alice's new museum exhibit and steal her latest find. Fortunately, Alison and her friends just happen to be there, although Wendy and Dot quickly flee, and Alison, with a little help from various superhero members of her extended family, saves the day.

The black and white art has a crisp, contemporary feel but the language is exaggerated and oddly dated. It's hard to tell whether the author is deliberately poking fun at 50s comic dialogue and conventions or trying to blend old and new. The appearance of a stereotypical Nazi villain is even more confusing, since he seems to have been around for an awfully long time without have Alison Dare's parents. The Scarab, of course, has regenerative powers, but what about her mom? They're obviously supposed to be in a roughly contemporary world, since Alice Dare wears extremely short shorts and Alison and her friends seem to be attending a modern, if somewhat lax, boarding school.

However, these quibbles are more what an adult would see and complain about. Kids are more likely to pick up on the Indiana Jones-style adventure, the obvious elements of humor, and fast-paced action. Hand it to fans of Indiana Jones, especially younger kids, probably those who like Salt Water Taffy will go for this as well.

Verdict: Probably not something I would have bought on my own, but I'll donate this to the library and see how the kids feel about it. If there's enough enthusiasm, I'll buy the additional volume(s).

ISBN: 978-0887769344; Published May 2010 by Tundra; Review copy provided by publisher through LibraryThing Early Reviewers

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