First in the Hilo series
By Judd Winick
Available now from Random House BFYR (Penguin Random House)
I'm familiar with Judd Winick from his work on titles like Green Arrow, but he does have a background in non-superhero comics. HILO: THE BOY WHO CRASHED TO EARTH is the first in a series of graphic novels for kids.
It's very appealing visually. The colors are bright, the lines are clean, and the action is easy to follow. That's good, because there's lots of it! I also liked that the main character, D.J., and his best friend who just moved back to town, Gina, are very visibly not white. Comics are a great medium for diverse characters since the pictures make them impossible to miss.
The story isn't too far off from what you'd expect. A loner's life is changed when a strange boy crashes to Earth and his old friend moves back to town on the same day. Suddenly, all three kids are embroiled in danger and spending their afternoons doing things like fighting robots. It's not ground breaking (aside from when Hilo crashes!), but it is a lot of fun. The dialog is terrific, and both D.J. and Gina feel like real kids with their own family issues.
THE BOY WHO CRASHED TO EARTH is a great pick for young graphic novel fans. It has both charm and energy. I hope the next HILO book keeps up the good work.