Saturday, June 3, 2017

Cosmic Commandos

Image result for cosmic commandosCosmic Commandos
Christopher Eliopoulos
Dial, July, 2017 185 pages
Grades 3-6

Jeremy struggles with not being as perfect as his twin brother Justin, who is liked by all and has great grades. Jeremy is not a student and his impulses come between himself and success. The only thing he is is better at than his twin is video games. One fateful day Jeremy pulls a magic decoder ring out of a cereal box. When he gets to school the ring helps him to shrink the school bully down to size. Then things start to get really weird as his favorite video game villains come to life and Jeremy must defeat them. Luckily, when he uses the ring a space suit with super powers magically encompasses him. Unluckily, each challenge gets trickier, much like in his video game, and the fate of the earth, or at least his town, is in his hands. When it looks like the task is too much for Jeremy, Justin finally gets his brother to listen to him and use the insider hints he has read about in a video game guide. Finally, when all seems lost, Jeremy gives in and accepts his twin as an equal evil-fighting partner. When the brothers work together, their twin powers are no match for the mastermind behind the whole evil operation and they save the town, and their own skins, from certain destruction. Yes, the twins saved the day, but they gain more than safety and pride in their success, they re-establish their bond as brothers and friends.

Veteran cartoonist and illustrator, Eliopoulos tries his hand at creating a graphic novel for kids with wonderful results. Appealing primarily to boys, he knows what they will enjoy reading, possibly because the twins in the story are inspired by his real-life sons. The story focuses on a video game coming to life, which readers will flock to, and features a powerless boy who is given the skills to fight crazy enemies. Who wouldn't want to find a magic ring at the bottom of the cereal box instead of the usual junk? Readers will find their imaginations souring as Jeremy's fantasy world collides with his boring and unsatisfying life. Beyond this action-filled premise, Eliopoulos offers some important lessons buried within, such as the importance of brothers, overcoming jealousy, the power of books, and we are always stronger when we work together. The cartoon-like illustrations are expertly drawn, presented in full color, scan easily, and will appeal to young readers. Hand this book to reluctant readers and they will devour it, never knowing that there is some substance behind the action-filled plot. The cover is inviting and will help lure in the target audience. A great introduction to kids not quite ready for more advanced super-hero comics or those new to the genre. After reading this book kids everywhere will start digging to the bottom of their own cereal boxes hoping for their own ticket to an awesome adventure.

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