The author who made a splash with The Big Splash (2008) takes the "costumed superheroes" genre out for a joyride, and anyone who comes along will never read comics the same way again. Six years as Bright Boy, sidekick to crime-fighting superhero Phantom Justice, has left Scott a teenager with no life, no friends and revealing yellow tights that show the news cameras every bit of the involuntary hard-on he gets after heroically rescuing a beautiful victim. Then another seemingly devastating development: He and arch-nemesis Monkeywrench (Dr. Chaotic's sidekick) both lose their masks in battle, and Monkeywrench turns out to be not only a girl, but one he knows from school. This leads to a giddy, liberating romance, as well as cool costume makeovers and sensational publicity after the cameras catch some of that love action. It also earns them death sentences from their respective employers, who turn out to be very different from their public images and not at all willing to be edged out of the limelight by supporting characters. Scott's present-tense narration keeps pedal to the metal from start to finish, and readers will be quickly won over as the two super-strong, super-fast, super-likable protagonists face both inner conflicts and a Dark Knightâ€“ish villain as deeply psychotic and scary as he is super powerful. Look for more twists than a pretzel factory and a possible sequel. (Superhero fantasy. YA)Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
For his sophomore novel, Ferraiolo (The Big Splash) delivers a delightfully clever take on superheroes with this unpredictable adventure. Scott "Bright Boy" Hutchinson has been the youthful sidekick to grim avenger Phantom Justice for most of his life, and he enjoys the nightly fights against evil, especially since it's the only social life he has. When the fiendish and superintelligent Dr. Chaotic escapes from prison, his sidekick (and Scott's nemesis) Monkeywrench returns as well. Business as usual, until Bright Boy and Monkeywrench accidentally learn each other's secret identities. Now, forced to interact in real life, they discover they have more in common than they thought, a connection their respective mentors are none too happy with. But as Scott starts to find a measure of happiness, a series of revelations shatters his worldview. Now the sidekick must decide whose side he's really on. What starts as a tongue-in-cheek sendup of the superhero genre (complete with puberty-related embarrassing moments, costume malfunctions, and purposefully clichéd dialogue) rapidly swerves into new and engaging territory as Ferraiolo reveals the story's true depths. Ages 10-14. (May)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
Gr 7-10--Bright Boy, sidekick of Batman-like superhero Phantom Justice, aka Trent Clancy, rescues a beautiful female hostage from the clutches of evil Rogue Warrior, but is powerless to conceal his erection that is all-too-obvious in his yellow tights--a costume that the live helicopter news feeds show he has clearly outgrown. His humiliation extends even to the kindergartners at his exclusive private Manhattan school and Phantom Justice is inexplicably unsympathetic, telling Bright Boy, aka Scott, to "control it." Their nemesis, Dr. Chaotic, escapes from prison and with his sidekick, Monkeywrench, provokes a confrontation. In the dustup, Monkeywrench is revealed to be a girl--Scott's classmate Allison--but she also discovers his identity. Long story short, they fight and flirt, fall for each other, and soon learn to prefer quiet conversations and kissing to fisticuffs. Two sections of white font on black pages reveal that Phantom Justice is a fraud, in cahoots with his evil counterparts, paid by giant corporations to stage their fights so as to provide them with free publicity--all those live helicopter news feeds. Further, PJ coldly plans to murder the troublesome sidekicks, just as he's disposed of other collaborators he no longer needed. This is a fast-reading, cleverly told, entertaining tale, sort of a graphic novel without the pictures. Although loose ends abound, the fun is in the boy-meets-girl story. Readers will be entertained and will hope for a quick sequel to fill in the gaps.--Joel Shoemaker, formerly at South East Junior High School, Iowa City, IA[Page 97]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.