Saturday, August 21, 2010

Graphic Novel Review - The Chicagoland Detective Agency: The Drained Brains Caper by Trina Robbins, Illustrated by Tyler Page (3/5 stars)

I got a digital copy of this book through Netgalley.  It looked like a fun little graphic novel and sounded like an amusing premise. 

When Megan walks into Raf's pet store he knows she is trouble, she is asking for a pet tarantula afterall.  Megan's dad sends her to a exclusive summer prep school where she senses something is not right about the strangely monotonous children there.  Will Megan and Raf be able to unravel a devious plot that is set at brainwashing a subset of the juvenile population?

Mainly this book is an intro to Megan, Raf and their talking dog friend.  It gets the three set up as the Chicagoland Detective Agency.

There are some great things about this book.  It talks about animal rights, prevention of cruelty to animals, and also touches on the value of independence and creativity.  So there are definitely some good messages presented here.  The illustration was also very good; it is done in kind of an Americanized Manga style and it is easy to follow and conveys the story well.  I was never confused about who is who or what was going on.

My biggest complaint with this graphic novel is the dialogue and the plot, both seemed a little second rate to me.  The majority of the dialogue is corny and forced sounding, like it fell out of a bad 80's cartoon.  I understand that this is a juvenile book, but there are lots of juvenile books out there that are easy to read but don't sound so corny.  Also the plot is incredibly predictable and has been done before.  Given the premise I was expecting more humor and there is some, but overall the book takes itself pretty seriously.

Overall this is an okay read.  It would be good for younger reluctant readers and sends some positive messages.  The illustrations are spot on but the story itself is pretty corny and predictable.  I probably won't be reading any more books in this series.

ChicagoLand Detective Agency 1: The Drained Brains Caper 

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