In Review: The Lollipop Kids #3

This is the book you give a reader who wants something other than spandex clad superheroes.

The cover: In Central Park a young child looks into one of the many ponds that populate this world famous public garden. As he looks into the water his reflection becomes a scream because he spies an underwater creature resembling Cthulhu beginning to emerge, its orange tentacles poking out of the water to grasp the child. Great frontpiece from Robert Hack that incorporates some excellent terror into a beautiful location. The best of mixes! Overall grade: A

The story: Nick Motley had washed his hands of joining the Lollipop Kids after seeing and experiencing firsthand the creatures they encounter to keep Central Park free of all kinds of creatures. He just had to walk under a bridge to get home, but he stopped to help someone who looked like they needed assistance and the person turned its head to reveal it’s not human. That’s how this issue by Adam Glass and Aidan Glass begins: Nick on the run from several ghouls. Thankfully, Fresno and Expo are still around and they make quick work of the creatures. With the baddies dispatched, Nick is taken to the headquarters of the team and there’s a wealth of background information given that could last for several series. I’m always impressed by writers that can tease so much in so few pages. In fact, there are some characters that appeared in Adam’s Rough Riders series (which are incredibly fun read and should be read by everyone!); though these may be different iterations of the same individuals, I did feel a neat thrill thinking at the crossover potentials.  Nick meets two other members of the kids and then gets to go to a very neat location where something important happens. After this occurrence, Nick feels the need to go somewhere else with the Kids and it’s here that the writers drop a major reveal. It’s the perfect cliffhanger to this issue. Lots of information in this issue that’s incredibly cool. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals by Diego Yapur have really grown on me. The book begins with the perfect opening image of Nick running from the baddies. I love the look of fear on this face, his body’s pose as he runs, and the ghouls only seen in silhouette. When the first monster is shown in the second panel it’s a great ghastly visage. The point of view in the first panel on the second page is cool for putting the spotlight on Fresno’s weapon. On the third page a computer blur is used for a character’s action in the fourth panel and it took me out of the reading experience; the panel would have been better had Yapur’s line work been left alone, especially around the ghoul’s head. It’s just not necessary. The double-paged splash on 4 and 5 is a grand reveal and it captures something one would expect to find at this location, but with just enough of an ominous flair to make it forbidding. I love what’s shown on Page 6, but can’t state what’s shown without spoiling. Suffice to say, this was wonderful! The final panel on the next page is a wonderful visual lead in to the epic full-paged splash on 8. This is a WOW! illustration that lives up to the build. Cosmo is an excellently designed character, which may lead the reader to making the same error as Nick. Another great build occurs on 12 and 13, with 14 being another full-paged splash. This page reminds me of scenes from Shazam! comics and Indiana Jones adventures — a perfect combination. I loved the way Nick sees the individual in this locale and his reaction was picture perfect. The last page has a great reveal, with the angle creating some great tension, and questions, and I love Fresno’s reaction to this entrance. Mr. Yapur, you’ve made me a fan. Overall grade: A

The colors: This book is set in Central Park at night and in several dark interior locations. None of these should have bright colors and colorist DC Alonso doesn’t make them bright. However, what he does is create dark settings with the perfect combinations of colors. The book opens with some beautiful blues to create the night as Nick avoids the ghouls. There’s also a really cool use of whites to create a ground mist. When Fresno uses her weapon its track can be followed by an electric blue. There’s also a really subtle, but cool, splash of red when a ghoul loses its head. The tans and sepias used for Page 6 wonderfully ages what’s being shown. The combination of reds and blues against the background of rosy marbles on 8 is a great mingling of time periods through colors. I love the colors on 14 which complete the classic imagery perfectly. The blues on 15 are also perfect and the use of violet on 16 and 17 for a magical moment and item are excellent. I also have to add that adding lines of red to Nick’s thought balloons is a slick way to give him a constant sense of tension. Very subtle, but very cool. Overall grade: A

The letters: Sal Cipriano creates narration, yells, Expo’s dialogue, regular dialogue, scene settings and the story title, newspaper text, computer text, a unique character’s speech on Page 15, and sounds. There’s a lot for Cipriano to do and it all looks terrific. I can express enough how happy I am to see such a unique font for Nick’s thoughts. It instantly catches the reader’s attention for its look and its use of lower case letters. Not human, Expo’s speech is a little off center, giving him an eerie waver when he speaks. I love it. The scene settings are given a childish scrawl which reminds the reader whose exploits they’re following. The newspaper and computer texts look appropriate for their mediums. There are only a few sounds in this issue, happening in the book’s final pages. They are cool and hold the promise of more to come. Overall grade: A

The final line: Adventure, scares, mystery, drama, and revelations that will please all ages of readers. Nick learns more about the Lollipop Kids, seeing their expansive facilities. He makes a decision that will change his life and it’s something everyone dreams of whether they’re young or old. The visuals are terrific, with appropriate scares and thrills. This is the book you give a reader who wants something other than spandex clad superheroes. 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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