In the opening scene, set in colonial times around the time of the American revolutionary war, two hooded figures enter a quiet village. They are soon surrounded by the military and told to surrender. With amazing agility and speed, the hooded figures attack.
Flashback several years to a southern plantation. A young boy, Brody, is threatened by the slave owner’s son. Graham, a slightly older black boy defends Brody, and the two must flee. They head for a cave looking for an abolitionist, Ben Lay. Pursuit comes from a sadistic wolfish man and with ferocious dogs. The boys are captured by Benjamin Franklin’s son, William, and used as lab rats, resulting in their gaining supernatural powers. With some training in African hand-to-hand fighting, they turn their abilities on their oppressors.
This is an action-packed remix with cameos from several historical figures like Phillis Wheatly. I enjoyed the full color illustrations but the beginning sequences were confusing. Several storylines and characters were introduced in a jumble and I wasn’t sure who the central figures were until the boys began exhibiting superpowers. It was a bit violent and the facial expressions and bodily features of the brutal male characters were often grotesquely exaggerated. It certainly drove the point home. I don’t read enough graphic novels to compare it to others of its genre but it is being considered for the Garden State Teen Book Awards ballot.
Library copy | Random House | 978-0375856709 | Ages 13 and up