cover image Will Supervillains Be on the Final? Liberty Vocational, Vol. 1

Will Supervillains Be on the Final? Liberty Vocational, Vol. 1

Naomi Novik and Yishan Li, Del Rey, $10.99 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-345-51656-5

The first in a proposed Liberty Vocational series mixes a familiar concept—the superhero school, as seen in the film Sky High and the Web comic PS238—with manga-styled art and character types of those found in countless high school manga. Leah's atom-manipulation powers are significant enough to get her sent away to a private college for kid heroes, where she's confronted with ethical choices both in and out of the classroom. The cast will seem familiar if you've read any of the recent graphic novel book spinoffs of superhero comics. They've got that generic manga look and expected personalities: snooty older girl, mysterious boyfriend material, older crush, snarky roommate. Leah's ability to do almost anything is too convenient, and exactly what she's doing isn't always clear to the reader, unless the text explains it. The big secret plot is set up for a future volume to resolve, which leaves the motives of some characters unclear. Novik is already a bestseller for her Temeraire novels, and some of that audience will hopefully follow her to a likable book with lots of hooks and entertainment, especially for girls. (Apr.)