Saturday, February 08, 2014

Graphic Novel Review: SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE

Usually when a superhero in a comic book or graphic novel receives powers they are either born with those powers or they get them when they are at least a teenager. Very seldom do they ever receive powers when they are a child; the only character I can think of who received his powers as a boy is Billy Batson as Captain Marvel. However, SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE is all about a boy who is granted superhero powers and how he deals with life after receiving those powers.

Andrew Ryan is a boy who is constantly bullied at school. His older brother, Tommy, loves him, but he’s a teenager who seems more interested in his friends instead of his family. One of Andrew’s big joys is the real life superhero Defender. Andrew watches the Defender show every day and even dresses up like him for Halloween. One day, after hearing a news report of Defender in action, Andrew attempts to track his hero down. There’s an explosion that apparently kills Defender, but the explosion blast delivers Defenders powers to Andrew. At first Andrew doesn’t know what to do. After all, he’s just a fifth grade kid. He decides he will try to do what Defender did and he dons his homemade Halloween costume and sets out to stop evil. He’s not used to the powers and keeps smashing into things and becomes dubbed Smash by the local media. At first he doesn’t like the name, but soon comes to embrace it. Meanwhile, Defender’s arch nemesis, Magus, sets out to spring a trap on Smash to suck out his powers to have for his own.

SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE is a highly entertaining book. The illustrations are really high quality that are reminiscent of old school Marvel comic books. The story is engaging and entertaining. It’s enjoyable to watch Andrew develop from a small, picked-upon fifth grade boy into a child superhero that everyone in the city roots for. A boy superhero presents some interesting challenges that typical superheroes don’t have to deal with. For instance, a child can’t exactly just skip school whenever he “has to.” I really enjoyed watching how Andrew dealt with these situations.

Overall, SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE is a highly entertaining book. I can’t wait to read the further adventures of Smash in future volumes.

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