Saturday, June 05, 2021

Miles Morales: Shock Waves and Cosmic Pizza Party

N.B. This is not to be confused with JASON Reynolds' 2017 novel, Miles Morales: Spider-Man. Also, it is important to know that for reasons I have been unwilling to research, Peter Parker is now sort of an adjunct Spider-Man who has interactions with his replacement, Miles. In addition, I don't understand the Marvel universe AT ALL. 

Reynolds, Justin A. Miles Morales: Shock Waves
June 1st 2021 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Miles' mother and father are devastated when Puerto Rico is hit by a hurricane and their families suffer major losses. Miles wants to spend time with them, but has to deal with trouble makers, Vex and Trinity, in the city, who keep outwitting him. He is also struggling with his artwork at Brooklyn Visions Academy, and his roommate Ganke keeps at him to keep the room clean. When he meets a new student, Kyle Ganderson, she offers to ask her father for help in the fundraising efforts Miles' mother is trying to get going. This is a huge help, but the two have an adversarial relationship at first. When Kyle's father goes missing after getting a mysterious text, no one believes her that this is a big deal, and Miles steps in to help. When Vex and Trinity show up as "interns" for Mr. Ganderson's company, Miles knows that something is up. How are his nemeses, Puerto Rico's problems, and Mr. Ganderson's disappearance related? And will he ever get his art project to work out the way he wants it?
Strengths: The idea of a tween super hero is a fun one-- all of the angst PLUS super powers! The events in Miles life-- going to a boarding school for art, dealing with a roommate, and struggling to help his parents in the wake of the hurricane in their homeland-- are all fascinating by themselves, and adding a mystery about Kyle's father and fights with his nemeses just makes it even better. Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl make cameo appearances. I wish I could remember if the plot is connected to the Jason Reynolds book, but I don't think it is. A short, fun read about a popular super hero!
Weaknesses: Not only was I generally confused about Miles' activity (why does everyone seem to know that he's Spider Man?), since I am not well-versed in his backstory, but the E ARC of the graphic novel made it hard to highlight key plot points. I feel like I am just not doing this book justice. 
What I really think: I wasn't sure that the novel version would circulate, but it does. I'm not sure why fans wouldn't just pick up the comic book versions of this story (since I do not understand the publication schedule of those at all), but this is a good way for libraries to stock the story, and would be a good introduction to Miles for readers who might be unaware of his story or who have only seen the movies. This is available in hardcover, prebind, and paperback from Follett.
Murphy, Nick, Ritchey, Paul, and Tormo, Bea (illus.) Cosmic Pizza Party
8 June 2021 by AMP! Kids/ Epic
Copy provided by the publisher

In the Maranaris System, a galaxy far, far away, there is a pizza business called Pie-in-the-Sky that specializes in the best pizza at the best price. Meg, Suzie, Mohs, and AL-N are trying their best to make their business viable, and are fighting against the well-established Papa-Roni pizza empire. They try some shortcuts, such as prepared dough and harvesting cheese from a planet, but run into problems. They cater a pizza and video game party for the prince of Calzonia, and end up in a terrifying adventure. When a race of Plegens don't like Suzie's pizza because they only eat plastic and organic ingredients make them sick, she learns from a Plegen chef how to formulate a different kind of pizza that also helps control plastic pollution coming from Pie-in-the-Sky. They run into a lot of delivery problems and have to contend with Papa-Roni's delivery drones, and compete in The Slice is Right. This graphic novel is a compilation of five shorter books that were originally available on the web site. 
Strengths: Graphic novels continue to grow in popularity, and I've been trying to diversify my collection so that I have the same variety of topics, characters, etc. that my regular fiction collection has. Cosmic Pizza Party does a great job at addressing not only space adventure things but also cooking, both of which are a bit hard to come by. The characters are a bit goofy, but since they are toodling around space in a pizza slice shaped shuttle, it works. I especially liked the story where the Plegans "recycled" plastic by cooking with it! I really liked the additional information at the back of the book, and the recipe for fruit pizza looks very tasty!
Weaknesses: Perhaps there aren't quite as many speculative fiction graphic novels because the formula makes world building more difficult. I had a lot of questions that younger readers might not care about. 
What I really think: Pizza, video games, kooky creatures, and lots of adventure will make this appealing to readers who like graphic novels like The Flying Beaver Brothers, Eliopoulos's Cosmic Commandos, or The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie

Ms. Yingling

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