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Smash: Trial by Fireby Chris Bolton and Kyle Bolton
Synopses & Reviews
Whap! Thud! Crash! An action-packed graphic novel simultaneously spoofs and pays tribute to superhero lore while inspiring a new generation of crimefighters.
Ka-boom! Clobbered by fallout from a blast that kills the local superhero, Defender, Andrew Ryan suddenly has super strength and speed! And he can fly! Now it's up to him to protect citizens from thieves, thugs, and fearsome villains. He dons a homemade costume to hide his true identity, and Smash is born! But fighting crime isn't easy, especially when you're in fifth grade. On top of evil robots and trigger-happy bank robbers, there's homework, curfew, and the school bully to deal with. Not to mention the Magus, a fearsome villain who will stop at nothing to steal Smash's superpowers for himself! Influenced by film, cartoons, and of course, classic comic books, this vivid escapade features a rib-tickling, high-energy storyline and the colorful, exaggerated figures of nostalgic comic-book art: a combo perfect for kids longing for a secret identity of their own.
"A graphic novel about a pint-size kid taking over for his superhero idol, Smash is an action-packed crowd-pleaser. Fifth-grader Andrew Ryan is obsessed with local superhero The Defender. When he is killed in a freak accident, his powers are transferred to Andrew, who must adapt to his new heroic persona, dubbed "Smash." He quickly learns that fighting crime isn't easy. In the concluding showdown with supervillain The Magus, Smash narrowly escapes to fight another day-but so does Magus. The final panel indicates more adventures to come. Andrew doesn't go through a miraculous transition from zero to hero-he has no idea how to harness his new powers. His missteps add humor to the mix and allow young readers to put themselves in the 10-year-old's shoes. The full-color artwork is full of kinetic energy. Action sequences are rendered with a cinematic feel, heightening every punch, explosion, and impact. Smash pays homage to the genre while adding tweaks that make it all feel fresh. This is sure to be a draw for superhero fans and reluctant readers alike." School Library Journal
"In this webcomic's print opener, a 9-year-old acquires superpowers but still has issues, such as his fear of heights and the difficulty of sneaking out of the house at night to fight crime. Without acquiring visible muscle, Andrew suddenly finds himself superstrong and supertough after the long career of Defender, the superhero he worships, comes to a sudden end in a mighty explosion. Discovering that ambition and a dorky homemade outfit doth not a superhero make, with some practice, Andrew nonetheless takes up some skills. He learns how to fly without running into things (deservedly acquiring along the way his moniker, "Smash") and to survive blasts and bullets while nabbing robbers and other malfeasants, costumed or otherwise. Unfortunately, he still has school, a mercurial big brother, parental rules and a bully problem (which he's savvy enough not to try solving the simplest way). That's not to mention the Magus, an archvillain out to regain the transferable superpowers he claims the Defender stole from him years ago. The Boltons provide easy-to-follow panels filled with action, wide eyes, banter ("Not another step or it's bye-bye puberty!"), and comically exaggerated differences between the puny (looking!) caped crusader and his much buffer adversaries. Smash battles his way through robots and other minions to a climactic and rousingly destructive, if inconclusive, climax that, natch, paves the way for sequels. Three cheers for the underdog. Maybe in future episodes he'll acquire better homework habits." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Chris A. Bolton has written comics, short fiction, stage plays, sketch comedy, and screenplays. He wrote and directed several short films and an acclaimed web series and recently completed his first novel. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he still dreams of acquiring superpowers.
Kyle Bolton attended the Art Institute of Seattle and, since graduating, has worked for Electronic Arts and dozens of other game companies. He currently works for FlowPlay, Inc., doing 2-D and 3-D game animations. Kyle Bolton lives in Seattle with his wife.
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