Monday, July 17, 2023

Happy Book Birthday, The Magma Cup by Eric Gapstur

It's time for another book birthday (well, the birthday of a new edition, at least). It's been a couple of weeks, since I had one which makes celebrating that much more fun. This is the 2nd book in a graphic novel series, and I have not read the first one. I'm expecting superhero goodness, tons of action, a little quirky fun, and, hopefully, none of that to the point where it gets ridiculous. But I'm going into this one having little doubt that it will be a lot of fun.

Sort of Super, Vol. 2
by Eric Gapstur
Middle Grade Superhero Fantasy / Graphic Novel
288 pages
ages 8 to 12

Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova meets the HiLo series in this second book in the action-packed Sort of Super middle grade graphic novel series that follows superhero Wyatt and his sidekicks on an undercover mission to summer camp!

Wyatt and his sister Adeline are determined to investigate an extinct volcano hundreds of miles from home that Adeline believes to be related to their mother’s mysterious disappearance. At first it seems like an impossible mission until they realize there’s a summer camp conveniently situated near the base of the volcano. So it’s off to summer camp for Wyatt, Adeline, and their buddies Beto and Nara. But when they get there, they find it impossible to sneak away from the heavily chaperoned grounds.

Opportunity presents itself by way of the Magma Cup, the camp’s tournament-style series of mental and physical competitions where the finalists compete in an overnight—and less chaperoned—scavenger hunt on the volcano itself!

Unable to use their abilities, can the super-team win their bracket and ditch their counselors to explore the secrets of the volcano and the connection it has to Wyatt and Adelina’s missing mother…or will the whole thing blow up in their faces?

GOODREADS    /    AMAZON    /    KOBO     /     B&N


Figuring out superhero-ness, dealing with summer camp competitions, and hoping to find a trace of a disappeared mother make this a read with non-stop action, a little chaos, and friendships to embrace.

Wyatt's kind of figuring out this superhero thing, and with his sister, Adeline, at his side, it seems to be going a little more smoothly. Sort of. When Adeline's research finally reveals the first sign of a possible clue in their mother's disappearance four years ago, he's ready to do anything he can so the two of them can find her again. And that means Summer Camp next to a volcano. With their two best friends at their sides, the foursome head off, hoping to find even a hint which might help them. Instead, they find a camp, which is centered around competitions, and the winning team gets a chance to tour the volcano. The competition is fiercer than fierce, and Wyatt and his sister know they can't use their powers to win...but that seems impossible.

This is a high-quality graphic novel with colorful illustrations, tons of action, and characters to root for. Wyatt might have all sorts of amazing powers, but he's just awkward and goofy enough to keep him down-to-earth. While tempted, he doesn't constantly grab back on his powers and tries to handle as much as he can (even when the going gets tough) as a regular kid...who just happens to wear his superhero suit under his clothes just in case. His sister has her own powers, but again, keeps these under wraps as much as possible and uses her head to get through difficulties first. It makes for a pair, which is easy to identify with, carries a touch of silliness, and has the fun side of bursting free and doing the impossible when really, really necessary. And this doesn't always work out quite as planned.

The graphics are well done, carry darkness and light, and bring the dangerous as well as the humorous situations across nicely. The text is easy to read in each scene and balances nicely with the imagery. A sense of urgency plays subtly along with the more distinct-lined style to swing more in a classic superhero direction.

It's a quick and grabbing read from start to finish. This can be read alone but, of course, is better read as a series.

And here he is...

Eric Gapstur is an author, illustrator, and cartoonist living in eastern Iowa with his wife and two sons. His work can be seen in DC and Image comics, among others. Sort of Super is his middle grade graphic novel series.

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