Graphic novels are all the rage with young readers these days, but this fact can be frustrating for adults who are trying to encourage kids to read more complex material. Thank goodness veteran comic-book creators Robert Venditti and Dusty Higgins have created a hybrid sure to satisfy both camps in Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape: Attack of the Alien Horde. Sixty-five of the 304 pages are comic panels drawn by Higgins, while the rest is prose written by Venditti.
“Mild-mannered” seventh grader Miles Taylor is given a cape imbued with superpowers by its previous hero, Gilded, and Miles must now be the one to save the world from criminals and disasters. Whenever Miles dons the cape and springs into action, the book’s format shifts (often midsentence) to graphic novel drawings. Unfortunately these exciting moments are punctuated by a story that moves a bit too slowly as Venditti builds the characters. This pace allows us to fully understand Miles and his friend Henry, but some judicious editing wouldn’t hurt.
Still, it’s a fun read, especially with the all the tongue-in-cheek humor (math teacher Ms. Euclid, annoying assistant principal Mr. Harangue, etc.) and the over-the-top evil alien invaders (Lord Commander Calamity and the Unnd). Best-selling Venditti and award-winning Higgins have created a world that will appeal to kids and grown-ups alike—and as a librarian who is sort of both, I look forward to recommending this one to my students.
Jennifer Bruer Kitchel is the librarian for a Pre-K through 8th level Catholic school.