In Review: The Lollipop Kids #1

You'd be a sucker not to pick up The Lollipop Kids.

The covers: Two different covers for this inaugural issue. Robert Hack has created the A cover. A little girl, about six, is being led into Central Park by her mother. The tot has on a pink sweater, aqua colored top, a white skirt, and white sandals. She has red bows in her hair. She’s holding a large lollipop, but doesn’t look happy. She looks behind her at a sign stating the direction of the park and two long fingered red hands are grasping it. Behind the characters are beautiful orange trees. A decent illustration with just a sliver of horror. Nicely done. The second cover is the B by David Lopez which features Nick wearing a hoodie and using a weapon, looking a little like a flashlight, to create a powerful white beam that’s blasting beyond the illustration. He’s screaming as he’s unleashing the weapon’s energy, as if he wasn’t prepared for what it could do. If only he would like behind him, he would see a dark angel sporting several tentacles looking at him ominously. The cover is in a burnt orange with the protagonist in blue hues. This is the cover I picked up because Nick looks great, scared, but great. Plus the creature behind him looks terrific. Overall grades: B+ and B A

The story: Co-creators Adam Glass and Aidan Glass, with Adam writing this issue, have created a neat tale that can be read by all ages. The book opens with a dramatic moment: 14 year-old Nick being confronted by the Big Bad Wolf in Central Park. Nick is on the ground as the massive creature looks ready to devour him. This scene is then momentarily put aside by Nick to tell the reader what led up to him being in this situation. Nick wakes to discover that his soon-to-be eighteen year-old sister hasn’t come home that night. He makes himself some breakfast and gets ready for school. He thinks to himself, ‘Gotta get to school and find Mia before Dad calls to check in. I don’t want to let slip that she spent the night out.’ As he makes his way to school, Nick reveals why Mia is mad at him, as well as how he has a disability that causes issues for him at school. He also reveals what’s happened to his mother. All of these issues, which I will not spoil, are real and allow Nick to be sympathetic, which allows the reader to want to see the character be successful. Beginning on Page 13 Nick finds himself discovering things that he believes will bring him to his sister. These items are very cool and are, seemingly, everyday items that people might come across in a park, especially Central Park. Two pages later, the flashback has caught up to the opening page, leaving the hero in a dire situation. It’s the next two pages that reveal the entire Lollipop Kids and they are very interesting. This issue introduces the group with their abilities teased, though not fully discussed. I liked this: to have everything explained in three pages would have been an information dump. Instead, the threat of the wolf is addressed and how Nick is part of a much larger, secret world is given. I was impressed with the amount of time devoted to establishing Nick as a character. It’s rare for a comic, even in the first issue, to devote so much space to making the character real before introducing the unreal into the book. My hat is off to both writers. With the backstory introduced, the rest of the series can get down to the nitty gritty: getting monsters! Overall grade: A

The art: The first page of this book is a full-paged splash and it’s exactly the image one would want to open any new series: an incredible looking creature emerging from the foliage against a full moon to do harm to an innocent. It’s a definite WOW! image. Artist Diego Yapur does a really strong on every page of this book. Since the story allows Nick to get established as a character, Yapur is able to create the world the young boy inhabits until confronted by things outside the realm of reality. Nick’s face is great, with his freckles being a great visual trait for the character. His hair is also amazing. When Nick goes looking for his sister in the park, his visage as he considers every clue is fantastic. Though only shown for two pages, the apartment he and his family live in is very realistic: it’s not large, comes off as a little cramped even if he’s the only character in the panels, and it’s a little bare, suggesting their economic level. I admit to being a little taken back by the double-paged splash on Pages 4 and 5 because the setting is done in a style very different from the previous trio of pages, but it allows the reader to focus solely on Nick, which is what the story needs the reader to do. Plus, it introduces Central Park to the reader, and, thematically, given what’s later revealed, it should look different from everything else in Nick’s life. The pages that follow return to the style of the first three pages. The double-paged splash on 16 and 17 introduces the title characters and it’s the perfect illustration. The text doesn’t have anyone stating their names, forcing the reader to take some time with this illustration so they can be remembered and identified later. Each character is sporting some unique tech, weapon, or ability that differentiates them from one another. The panel at the end of 19 is very cool, and has me hoping that upcoming issues will allow Yapur return to this time period, or other older ones, to reveal what occurred in the past. Yapur really won me over. Overall grade: A

The colors: DC Alonso does a solid job with this book. I love that the reader is drawn to the Big Bad Wolf on the first page not because of its size, but the red eyes that are attention grabbers. I like that Nick’s narration stands out for being in yellow boxes, highlighted with a strong red on the right and bottom. The colors used for the apartment are dark, because it’s early morning, plus they reinforce the economic status of the family. The colors on 4 and 5 have Central Park in faded, muted colors. This gives the setting an unreal look, which is clever foreshadowing. I really like how Alonso subtly had the sun go down on Nick as he went into the park looking for his sister; this gave the visuals a very real tone. Blue really stands out on two characters that appear on 16 and 17, teasing for the reader the individuals’ strength. The burnt reds at the end of 18 gave a wonderfully aged feel to the artwork. Notice how Alonso changes the background color on the final page to a cool green as Nick learns some important information: a color used to calm people. Alonso is aces on this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: Sal Cipriano, who did a bang-up job on AfterShock’s Rough Riders’ books, is the letterer on this issue and he’s just as super. He’s responsible for creating Nick’s narration, scene settings, a phone recording, sounds, signage, dialogue, a song sung, and the tease for next issue. I am always so appreciative when a letterer uses different lettering for a character’s narration and Nick’s is very unique, even employing lower case letters. So cool of Cipriano. The scene settings are in a great font, looking as though they were created by a teen. The sounds increase the action in the visuals, with AAAWOOO my favorite. Cipriano is aces. Overall grade: A

The final line: The Lollipop Kids has a wonderfully developed lead who finds himself confronted by supernatural foes and new friends as he searches for his sister. The peek into the history of this group has me very interested at what they can do and the pantheon of creatures that they will battle has me eager to see all the monsters. The visuals are very strong, creating reality and the fantastic well. Heck, even the letters are strong visual elements of this book. You’d be a sucker not to pick up The Lollipop Kids. I’m looking forward to where this is going. Overall grade: A

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To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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