- Cosmic Commandos by Christopher Eliopoulos
ISBN 978-1-101-99448-1 $13.99
Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 3–5
Jeremy doesn’t really like other people, so when he discovers that his cereal-box prize, a ring, is actually magical and that he is now the superhero in a video game come to life, he tries to go it alone to defeat all of the villains. It doesn’t matter that his twin brother Justin has great ideas too, or that Justin’s read the guide book to this video game, or that Justin is, in fact, exactly what Jeremy ultimately needs to defeat the final boss—Jeremy spends most of this graphic novel firmly rejecting his brother. The shock of bright colors, giant sound effects, and visually cool villains amp up the fun and zippy excitement of this graphic novel. Unfortunately, Jeremy’s such a jerk that it’s hard to connect with him; even when he finally accepts Justin it feels like too little, too late. In addition, it’s unclear whether there’s an intentional homage to Bill Watterson going on or not (it’s not mentioned anywhere), but Jeremy [End Page 448] is so similar to Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes that it’s distracting: his teacher and parents look similar, his declarations of oppression are familiar, and his imaginative play puts him in the role of Cosmic Commando which is, of course, a close tie to Calvin’s Spaceman Spiff. Issues aside, however, there’s plenty of drama and video-game inspired action to keep readers zooming along to the end, and there’s a cozy finish where the long-suffering Justin finally gets all he ever wanted, a brother who acknowledges his existence.