Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Welcome to the 'Burbs (Cat Ninja #4)

Cody, Matthew and Thomas, Chad. Welcome to the 'Burbs (Cat Ninja #4)
November 1, 2022 by Andrews McMeel Publishing 
Copy provided by the publisher

Claude, aka Cat Ninja, has gotten up to a lot of trouble since we met him in the first installment, Cat Ninja. Now, he is moving from Metro City to Peaceful Valley, to live for a month with Marcie and Leon's father. He's bought a house in the suburb so that the kids and their pets, the robotic dog Adonis and Mr. Squeaks the hamster, have more room. Marcie doesn't want to be away from her friends, but after Leon wipes out on his skateboard trying to impress neighborhood children, develops a group of friends even though Leon doesn't. The neighbors seem friendly, even though it's a little odd that Mrs. Widdle brings the family a sullen looking fish as a welcoming gift. The fish is, of course, an evil henchman, and soon Cat Ninja and crew are called upon to fight the fish mafia. Cat Ninja has some problems; because he's in the suburbs, he isn't as quick to respond to crises, and Octopunch gets more acclaim. He's also in the sights of Fish Face Malone, who wants to take him down, but the Goldfather, a fish in charge of the syndicate, manages to deal with Fish Face. When Mr. Squeaks is kidnapped by the evil fish, Cat Ninja starts to notice that the only pets in Peaceful Valley are piscine, and also uncovers alarming information about the local Goldfather's Fish Flake factory that employs many local residents, including Marcie and Leon's father. Will Cat Ninja be able to save the day?
**Slight spoiler because it was SO funny.**
Strengths: These Epic! Originals graphic novels always remind me strongly of the Harvey World comic books we would get as a treat at gas stations on road trips-- it didn't matter that we picked up Richie Rich number 83 without reading the proceeding ones. While Cat Ninja seems to have a few new skills and adversaries, it's easy enough to catch up with his antics. This volume deftly combined some real life concerns, like moving to a new neighborhood and navigating life with divorced parents, with the goofy fight with the Goldfather's syndicate. 
Weaknesses: This ends on quite the cliffhanger, and because these have been published in a couple of formats, I'm not quite sure what follows this book; it looks like the stand alone Baby's Day Out, but there might also be a combined volume. 
What I really think: Here's the spoiler: I loved the shout out to Soylent Green! "Goldfather's Fish Flakes are... people. I mean, made by people. In a sewage plant." I'm not sure that any 8-12 year olds will get the reference to that 1973 film, but I appreciated it, especially since I had forgotten that the movie takes place in 2022! I appreciate any time a  book includes jokes to make it worthwhile for adults to read it. Of course, graphic novel fans will like it best, and this is a great way to introduce the format to younger readers. 

1 comment:

  1. Ha Ha, Soylent Green. Why did my high school make us watch this too? I am also curious where this will go next.