Fantasy Sports, No.2 – The Bandit of Barbel Bay (English)

April 24th, 2016

FSP2About a year ago, it was my very real pleasure to read and review Fantasy Sports No. 1 by Sam Bosma. It had everything I ever wanted from a kid’s comic. “Giant robot evil undead conquerors, wizards, treasure, skeleton hordes, tea, adventure, puzzles, and basketball. Gosh, this book was so wonderful.” I have been on tenterhooks waiting for the sequel, Fantasy Sports No. 2 and now that I’ve read it, I have to say…it’s even better than No. 1!

In Volume 1, we met Wiz Kid (“call me Wiz”) an intern of the Archmage, who is out and about plundering with her boss Mean Mug. In Volume 1, they are having some office politics issues, but when we see them again in Volume 2, they appear more partner/partner, than boss/intern.

They find themselves in Barbel Bay, a town populated by humans and fishpeople all of whom share a deep loathing for the Mages who, they say, destroyed their town some years ago. Wiz isn’t entirely convinced, but she’s appalled at even the thought that her people were the aggressors. She and Mug lose their treasure and are forced to enter a volleyball tournament to regain it. During the tournament they – once again – deepen their teamwork. I won’t tell you the ending, because there is no good reason at all for you to not get this delightful book and give it to a kid who loves comics or your local library, or keep it on the shelf to re-re-read from time to time. ^_^

The color palette is a little different this time, full of reds and blues and purples, but still very far from primary-colors one expects in children’s comics. It gives Barbel Bay a unique feel of it’s own.

And the story….oh my goodness can Sam Bosma tell a story! In 50 pages, he crams in so many levels of meaning, plot, character development and room to grow. Neal Stephenson could learn a lot about telling densely packed stories with brevity from Bosma. Before I give this volume to the library, I’m definitely going to give it another read or two. It’s that good.

Once again Wiz Kid is a fabulous protagonist and this time, Mug steps up to be the mentor that he hadn’t previously been. But he’s not a bodyguard – Wiz is hero all on her own with her own physical skills and mental wherewithal. She makes a terrific role model for all of us. As for the fishpeople,  there’s always something to be learned from other cultures. The lessons we learn here are sure to come back and help Wiz and Mug on their future adventures.

Ratings:

Art – 10
Character – 10
Story – 10

Overall – 10

Treasure and giant clams and teamwork and shadow history and shiny champions and fishpeople and magic! Volume 3 will feature field hockey. I can’t wait!

Thanks ever so much to Nobrow Press for the review copy. <3

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