Review Detail

 
Kids Fiction
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0

Great beginning graphic novel


Twins Jeremy and Justin, while identical, couldn't be more different. Jeremy is devoted to video games, disorganized, and mean to Justin. (His stock phrase is "Stop looking like me!") Justin realizes that being organized makes his day go smoothly, and he is pleasant and kind to everyone, so he has lots of friends. When Jeremy gets a prize from a cereal box, it turns out to be a ring that actually grants wishes and turns him into Cosmic Commando, the main character of his favorite video game. He has some fun with this, accidentally turning one of his classmates into a giant before returning to his original (but perhaps a bit smaller) size. However, when the villains from the video game start hunting Jeremy down, things become dangerous. Luckily, Justin reads a book of cheat codes and can figure out how to help Jeremy, but his twin doesn't really want his help. Can the boys learn to work together to defeat the villain Skorn and save their school from being demolished?

Good Points
This graphic novel will appeal to readers who enjoy Eliopoulos' illustrations in Brad Meltzer's I Am biography series. There is a good amount of text on the page; just enough to move the story forward and not so much that the text is tiny or takes a long time to read. The full color illustrations have clean lines and are vibrant and humorous, and it's nice that Justin is always shown in blue while Jeremy is in red.

Eliopoulos has twin sons of his own, so his description of the twin dynamic is interesting. I don't know that I have ever seen a depiction where the twins don't like each other. Jeremy is a rather reprehensible character, but he does grow and become a better person during the story, which is good to see. There's a lot of longing for closeness on Justin's part, and he seems like such a together kid that I really felt sorry for him! Not many graphic novels manage to work in a significant emotional element, so this was impressive.

The lower reading level of this book will make it popular amoung the Super Amoeba and Lunch Lady crowd. Superhero stories are always popular, especially when they are combined with illustrations. Winnick's Hilo is somewhat similar to this, and readers who enjoy the action and fantasy of that will certainly like Cosmic Commandos.
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