Saturday, December 21, 2013

Battling Boy by Paul Pope

Arcopolis is overrun with monsters of all kinds.  Only Haggard West can stand against them.  Too bad Haggard West has just been killed.  Meanwhile, in another galaxy, a 12 year-old boy on the eve of his 13th birthday is being sent out on his Ramble.  His father, a great hero and monster fighter, sends him to Arcopolis to save it.  Battling Boy has his work cut out for him.  And he might not be able to do it alone.

This was a good start to a series.  Several main characters are introduced, including Battling Boy himself, and Haggard West's daughter, Aurora, who was quite surprised to see another superhero show up on her turf.  We get a general idea of the world, but no specifics.  We don't know where the monsters are coming from, and we don't really understand where Battling Boy comes from, or who his people are.  Why do they send their 13 year-olds on life-threatening quests?  Do they all have superpowers?  Do they all get sent out to try and save other planets?

I am confused about Battling Boy's powers.  I hope it will become clearer with time.  His father seems to be a very power being called a Warlord.  He can shoot lighting from his fingers and has a number of other powers as well.  Battling Boy seems to mainly get his power through the 12 t-shirts he's been given.  Each has a different animal totem, and when he puts them on he gets some of that animal's strength.  What I'm not sure about is if Battling Boy has any powers just on his own.  It seems like he should.  But it's not clear.  Perhaps he's supposed to have powers, but doesn't.

Battling Boy gets himself into trouble pretty much as soon as he gets there.  He struggles against the first monster he goes up against, and calls his father for help.  His father, in the middle of fighting his own monster, doesn't have time to talk Battling Boy through the whole thing, and zaps the monster with his lightning powers.  Of course, the people of the city think it was Battling Boy who has lightning power, and he doesn't correct them.

The end of the first book leaves us with Battling Boy admitting that he doesn't have lightning powers, and is going to need Aurora's help.  The monsters of the city are teaming up to kill Battling Boy, and probably Aurora as well.

Art is in a traditional superhero style, with lots of action and fight scenes.  I found that other than the main characters, everyone else kind of looked alike, especially the members of the military.  Perhaps that was intentional?  Or maybe not.

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