Rummanah Aasi
 I really enjoyed reading Hope Larson's Mercury and was really looking forward to her take on the female superhero. Unfortunately, Who is AC? is as intriguing as Mercury, but it does have strong female characters which can be hard to find in superhero comic books.

Description: Meet Lin, a formerly average teenage girl whose cell phone zaps her with magical powers. But just as superpowers can travel through the ether, so can evil. As Lin starts to get a handle on her new abilities (while still observing her curfew!), she realizes she has to go head-to-head with a nefarious villain who spreads his influence through binary code. And as if that weren't enough, a teen blogger has dubbed her an "anonymous coward!" Can Lin detect the cyber-criminal's vulnerability, save the day, and restore her reputation?

Review: Hope Larson is known for her magical realism graphic novels, but with Who is AC?, she adds superhero into her list. Lin is a teen, an aspiring author who has just moved to a small town. She becomes a superhero,  activated by mysterious cellphone messages and visited by a "dispatcher" who nags her until she suits up. Her nemesis is a shadowy villain who possesses a glamorous rich girl in order to snare a boy named Trace.
  Readers of superhero comics will find lot of familiar things in Lin's story, however, there are many subplots that are left unexplored and gives the book an unfinished feeling. Larson's dialogue is also a bit uneven, veering into cliche superhero lingo, but also clever and comical such as Lin disguised as her alter ego asking for a performance review after she deflected a robbery.
  Pantoja's heavily inked lines hew closely to manga conventions with action-packed panel sequences, big eyes, and outsize expressions. Oddly, it's the teens' relationships with their parents that are most nuanced and memorable rather than the action sequences. Who is AC? is brimming with strong, independent girl characters, but it leaves much to be desired. I think the book could really benefit from a sequel to get deeper into the story and the characters. As a standalone, however, it doesn't really stick in the reader's mind.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language including crude humor as well as violence found in a PG movie. Recommended for Grades 6 and up.

If you like this book try: Foiled by Jane Yolen
2 Responses
  1. I like the sound of this but it seems that it was a bit underwhelming. I would check it out from the library for the art and superhero stuff.

  2. Haven't heard of this author at all. Must have missed the other book. I enjoy graphic novels but usually when they are tied into a series I have already read or that I am reading. I don't think I've ever read a stand alone that could actually stand alone. Just not enough to it. Though I am sure someone could do it. Sorry this one fell a little short for you. Perhaps there will be a sequel :)

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