SMASH!: Trial by Fire
SMASH!: Trial by Fire

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Series: Smash Vol. 1   

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Annotation: Imaginative fifth-grade student Andrew Ryan dreams of having the powers of his superhero idol Defender, but when Andrew is caught in fallout from the blast that kills Defender and sees his wish come true, he finds that having superpowers is only part of being a hero.
Catalog Number: #84248
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition Date: 2013
Illustrator: Bolton, Kyle,
Pages: xii, 145 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7636-5596-1 Perma-Bound: 0-605-82308-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7636-5596-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-82308-2
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2012947720
Dimensions: 19 x 25 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Andrew is an ordinary kid who tries to avoid the school bullies, puts up with his annoying older brother, and dreams of meeting his superhero idol, Defender. When Defender is killed in a mysterious blast of power, his abilities are somehow transferred to Andrew. But being a superhero is more than just running fast and not throwing up while flying, and Andrew needs to learn quickly before Defender's archenemy gets any closer.Though the Boltons don't try to break any new ground here, they do add some much-needed realism drew has a fear of heights (which makes flying complicated); his brother alternates between bullying Andrew and worrying about him; and the local police have trouble accepting a child as a superhero. Kyle Bolton's cartoonish art recalls Frank Cammuso's (The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, 2013), but it has a refreshingly everyday color palette. There is violence (it's a superhero story, after all), but it is appropriate for the intended audience, and the ending leaves plenty of stories to tell in subsequent volumes.
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)
School Library Journal
Gr 3&11;6&12; 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.&12; Travis Jonker, Wayland Union Schools, MI
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (3/1/14)
ILA Children's Choice Award
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (9/1/13)
Word Count: 9,195
Reading Level: 2.4
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.4 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 161175 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.2 / points:5.0 / quiz:Q61588
Lexile: GN340L

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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