Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sons of Liberty by Alexander & Joseph Lagos, illustrated by Steve Walker & Oren Kramek

This is definitely a new concept for a graphic novel.

Two escaped slaves, captured by Benjamin Franklin's degenerate son, are accidentally given amazing powers when he uses them for his horrible experiments. They are then taken in by Benjamin Lay and taught secret arts of warfare.

That's the short version. Along the way we meet a variety of historical and imagined characters, violence, war, and Colonial culture and concerns. There's plenty of action, glowing eyes, horrible deaths, and dramatic confrontations, as well as a hefty mixture of history and fantasy. The art is dark and shadowed, blending superhero comic lines into historical backgrounds.

I think this could be quite popular with both teens and adults - the mixture of history and superhero fantasy is enthralling and I'd like to try displaying this with Lauria Halse Anderson's Chains, and Margaret Blair's Liberty or Death: The surprising story of runaway slaves who sided with the British during the American Revolution. However, there were a lot of wildly waving plot points. Despite the heavy doses of action and violence, this was definitely an origin story and seemed to kind of trail away. I'm not sure if the dark art will draw readers or not.

Verdict: I'll wait to see the second volume before purchasing for my library. Some of the reviews say elementary, but I'd put this in teen because of the violence.

ISBN: 0375856676; Published May 2010 by Random House; Borrowed from the library

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