Friday, September 22, 2017

Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers

This was a gift to the Kiddo from his cousin when we were visiting family over the summer.

Title: Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers
Publisher: Scholastic
Date: 2012
Writer: Dav Pilkey
Artist: Dav Pilkey

The Kiddo and I read the first volume of this series and skipped directly to this one (the ninth), which was probably not the best way to approach this. This book relies fairly heavily on what has come earlier in the series to set things up.

Also, there is time travel involved. Complete with full-on time travel paradoxes that would make the X-Men universe proud. On top of that, this book serves as an origin-story for George and Harold.

And finally, the ending is pretty wild. That's all I'm going to say as far as that goes.

Unfortunately, the "origin" portion drags a bit, making the middle of this book something of a slog (to the extent that a middle-grade mixed-prose-and-sequential book can qualify as a slog).

More unfortunately, a major subplot involves some very sexist tropes in which the bullies are repeatedly humiliated with things that get the rest of the school to perceive them as feminine. I'd really like to be past this sort of thing, but here it is again.

The Kiddo did laugh at most of the jokes, and the time travel stuff got him thinking a bit, but there was enough negative here that I'm not particularly eager to check out #2-8.

Rating: 4/10

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Salt Water Taffy 2: A Climb Up Mt. Barnabas

I picked up the first volume of this series at New York Comic Con in 2011, and reviewed it here. I proceeded to bring it as one of my recommendations when I was on a panel about all ages comics at Arisia the following January. The first volume was a fun story, which was very rooted in its coastal Maine setting. So I was rather amused to find the second volume on sale at Monument Books in the Aeon Mall in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. That's about as far from Maine as one can get!

Title: Salt Water Taffy
Issue: Volume 2: A Climb Up Mt. Barnabas
Date: 2008
Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Matthew Loux
Artist: Matthew Loux
Design: Matthew Loux, Keith Wood
Letterer: Douglas E. Sherwood
Editor: Randal C. Jarrell

A leisurely family hike leads to a tale of an encounter with Barnabas, the monstrous hat-stealing giant eagle, who resides on the mountain bearing his name. And that mountain is a considerably less leisurely place for hiking.

Still, when their Dad's favorite hat falls victim to Barnabas, Jack and Bennie Putnam dare to make the ascent, encountering various unusual creatures en route to a confrontation with Barnabas himself.

This was a more linear story than the first volume, but there were sill plenty of surprises and twists. The setting blends fantasy and comedy nicely, and the Putnam Boys are fun characters with a comfortable interaction and distinctive personalities.

Matthew Loux's artwork is beautiful, and the pacing of his panels gives the reader a chance to appreciate the scenery, even when hiking up the most dangerous peak in Chowder Bay.

Rating: 7.5/10