Friday, October 3, 2014

Cleopatra in space: Target practice by Mike Maihack

When I first heard about this title, I was skeptical. Scholastic Graphix usually turns out really popular titles, but every once in a while they go off into "crazy plots" country and this sounded like it fit into that category (think ChickenHare).

I went ahead and bought it anyways, as I was looking for more adventure graphic novels. I handed it to a girl and she brought it back positively gushing about how much she had loved it. "Very well," I thought, "I shall give it a chance."

It was AWESOME. If you're expecting a novel about ancient Egypt, forget it. This is pure action with a great heroine who's full of confidence and enthusiasm.

The story opens with a mysterious chapter featuring a nameless girl fighting off a strange race of furious blue-green aliens for possession of a box. Who is this girl and why is she rescued by a cat on a floating sphinx? Well...that story begins many years ago and her name is Cleopatra...and she's seriously bored. So being mysteriously abducted by space aliens doesn't throw her much - at first. However,e finding out that she's supposed to save the universe is a bit of a downer, since she wasn't very enthusiastic about ruling Egypt either. She's especially annoyed when she discovers she's still going to have to go to *gag* classes! Luckily, there's more hand-to-hand combat involved in this school and it's not long before she's ready for her first mission. But will she survive to pass the course?

The art has a lot of purples, greens, and reds. It's exciting, easy to follow, colorful, and attractive. It does have a certain cinematic sameness about it in comparison with most other graphic novels for this age group, but there's nothing wrong with that - the story is the thing and the art supports it very well, with enough of a recognizable style for kids to ask for more.

Verdict: Fans of Zita the Spacegirl will be thrilled with this new heroine. With plenty of action, adventure, mystery, and a side dish of friendship and school woes, expect this new series to fly off the shelf!

ISBN: 9780545528429; Published 2014 by Scholastic Graphix; Purchased for the library

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