Friday, August 05, 2011

Bad Island

Doug TenNapel

I wasn't a huge fan of Doug TenNapel's previous all-ages graphic novel, Ghostopolis, but I really liked his art and I saw a lot of potential for something great in that story, so I decided to give him another go with Bad Island, another all-ages fantasy.  I wasn't disappointed.  I really enjoyed this new book.  TenNapel illustrates this story with the same great cartoony style as his previous book, but couples it with a really neat story that had direction and moved along at a brisk pace without the meandering uninteresting parts that dragged Ghostopolis down.  It follows a family that's sort of disconnected, going on a boat trip that nobody is really eager to go on, except for the father, who really wants to bring his family together again during this vacation.  Things don't go as planned, however, as a storm causes them to wash up on an island in the middle of nowhere.  And the longer they stay on the island, the more strange it becomes, as everything from the animals they see to the vegetation they encounter, seem otherworldly.  This book was just a lot of fun.  I can see kids really enjoying this one, with its adventure-into-the-unknown feel, the epic space battle scenes mixed in that explain the island's history, and the nice dynamic between the family members who come to bond over the dangerous situation they find themselves in.  And beyond the great action seen throughout this book, is a good deal of humor.  I chuckled often at the goings-on of the characters, particularly the younger sister, who carries around her dead snake, since it didn't survive the shipwreck.  Bad Island can get a little goofy at times, but it's a nice light-hearted adventure that shows off the great cartooning abilities of TenNapel in an engaging story.

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