SMASH: Trial by Fire

( 1 )


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 ...

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Raina Sedore
Andrew lives in a world where superheroes (and supervillains) are real. His favorite superhero is Defender, a super-powered, red-goggled, blue-caped crusader. One day, Andrew mysteriously attains Defender-like abilities. What will he do with them? Andrew’s story is told in a slick package—all in color, in a hardcover binding. The story, while somewhat predictable (as most superhero comics are), contains interesting characters and fun-looking gadgets. It is a story told squarely to a kid-audience, though it does not shy away from PG-level violence (no blood, but plenty of guns and hitting). Andrew’s family life is slightly sad in its realism—his mother works a lot, and his older brother is a neglectful guardian. The pages are set up in a variety of ways, and the full color of the story is engaging and enticing. Some of the pencil line work is inconsistent, but this is a relatively minor complaint in an otherwise solid new superhero tale. A fun addition for kid-targeted superhero collections everywhere. Reviewer: Raina Sedore; Ages 7 to 12.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—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.—Travis Jonker, Wayland Union Schools, MI
Kirkus Reviews
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. (Graphic fantasy. 9-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763655969
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/10/2013
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 265,002
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: GN340L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.78 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet 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 has been drawing since the age of four, although SMASH is his first professional comic work. A graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle, he has worked for a variety of game companies creating 2D and 3D animations. Kyle Bolton currently draws and lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I don¿t read many graphic novels, but I¿m happen I took the chan

    I don’t read many graphic novels, but I’m happen I took the chance with this one.

    I enjoyed the concept of having a ten year old character become a superhero. Most of the heroes of our modern mythology are in their late teens, at the youngest, and while that always brings with it real-life issues to go along with those of being a superhero, I think a ten year old can bring a fresh batch of obstacles to the mix. Andrew/Smash has to deal with a school bully, his older brother (also a, more mild, bully…like all brothers tend to be), and all the other “problems” of being young and not really fitting in. How can a kid that young juggle his normal life with his new superpowers? Well, this is something I hope future Smash books will explore.

    In this first installment of the series, I felt that it was a strong début for the character and story. It’s a great origin story for Smash, with hints at many different sub-plots I can’t wait to see explored as well. I also liked the villain, Magnus. I see him as a strong and powerful foe. There wont’ be any easy battles for our young hero.

    I think this, overall, is a great story with great artwork and while I feel it’s aimed at a younger audience (especially with today’s push toward educating kids about bullying), more seasoned superhero fans should enjoy this little guy. I’m looking forward to future Smash books.

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