cover image The Phoenix Colossal Comics Collection, Volume One

The Phoenix Colossal Comics Collection, Volume One

Various authors. . Scholastic/Fickling, $14.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-338-20679-1

The glossy pages of this volume offer four longer episodes of Troy and the Trailblazers, a space adventure-comedy, punctuated by shorter episodes of a half-dozen animal comics played strictly for laughs. In a predictable initial sequence (%E2%80%9CI%E2%80%99m picking up a huge energy signature in the center of the Archives%E2%80%9D), the space gang%E2%80%94vacuous Troy; cynical Jess; their furry companion, Barrus; and robot assistant Blip%E2%80%94defeat their galactic enemies, the Bioteks. But then Troy and friends are offered a reality TV show whose director bamboozles Troy into jettisoning Jess for superstardom (%E2%80%9CTrent thinks you%E2%80%99re%E2%80%A6holding me back,%E2%80%9D Troy tells the enraged Jess) and reveals himself as Troy%E2%80%99s evil twin. In another story, bold, ink-heavy panels pit the manic Monkey against the placid Bunny: %E2%80%9CAll hail Destructo!%E2%80%9D Monkey commands, assuming his latest evil persona. %E2%80%9CTake off the helmet and stop being silly,%E2%80%9D Bunny replies. The surreal Doug Slugman; a Despicable Me clone, Evil Emperor Penguin; a manic housecat-from-hell, Looshkin; and the genial Squid Squad round out the collection. Candybox colors, frenetic energy, and plenty of fart jokes conspire to lure readers from the screen for an evening. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. (Mar.)