Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Books I Read: Takio

"Takio" is the new all-ages graphic novel from "Powers" creators Brian Bendis and Mike Oeming. It's a great-looking package: a thin, undersized hardcover in that new style where the artwork is printed directly on the cover. I usually complain about undersized books, but this one is vibrant-looking and well-designed for kids to throw into a backpack and still be able to keep on a shelf. It's a great value at 96 pages for $9.99. (Less online, of course.)

Arguably some of Bendis' other work is all-ages ("Avengers", "Ultimate Spider-Man"), but this is definitely aimed a little younger and specifically at girls with the girl protagonists. (Not that boys won't like it, but girls have fewer chances to read comics whose stars are like them.) The girls, 7 year old Olivia and 13 year old Taki, are written like believable kids. Olivia is adorable, but annoying in that way little kids can be, and Taki tries to act like an adult but still has that little-kid insecurity, exacerbated by the fact that their overprotective mom expects her to watch over her sister. (Mom: "How could you let this happen?" Taki: "I'm not there when she's at recess!" Mom: "If something like this happens, you have to call me." Taki: "Oh my God! She banged her knee, she didn't lose an arm!")

The trademark Bendis dialogue is there, but in a way that's appropriate for the age of the characters. The plot is pretty standard stuff -- accident, get powers, experiment with powers, get chased by people who want powers, etc. -- but it works because you like this kids and care about them from page one. Oeming smartly went even broader than his usual art style for this book, which looks great on the smaller pages. (The coloring is also terrific.) The cover and preview pages make the book seem very superhero-y, but actually the kids are only in full costume for a couple of pages. (Which is a balance I'd be fine with in future volumes.)

Is it my favorite Bendis thing? No, not even close. But I'm always griping about there not being enough kids comics, especially ones that young girls can enjoy, so I'm thrilled that this book exists and is of such high quality. I hope it has a long run, and is a bookstore success. I haven't personally had a chance to get any of my friends' kids opinions about this book yet, but Wired's reviewer says his 9 year old daughter loved it. I'd be curious to hear your experiences with kids and "Takio".

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the heads-up on this one. It sounds like a good book as well as an important book for attracting new and younger readers. There's another review for those who want to read more at http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/10/09/bendis-and-oeming-bring-all-ages-takio-to-marvel-icon/ and it's also one of the featured topics of discussion on the new FROM THE BOOTH PODCAST available free through ITunes or access via Captain Blue Hen's link in the column directly to your right under the Comics Retail heading.

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