cover image Leviathan (Adventuregame Comics #1)

Leviathan (Adventuregame Comics #1)

Jason Shiga. Amulet, $14.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5779-2

This ambitious graphic novel by Shiga (the Demons series), reminiscent of early 2000s web browser games in which players facilitate their own unique story lines through a series of choices, features an unnamed, pony-tailed protagonist seeking the power to control a frightening sea monster. Operating as the hero, readers must decide what to do about the monstrous Leviathan terrorizing the waters beyond the protagonist’s coastal village, while navigating varying obstacles, which includes obstinate and change-resistant locals. One path leads toward the Starlight Wand, an ancient and mysterious power that can control and, if necessary, defeat the Leviathan. Various choices, including specific conversational responses, examining items, and traveling from one area to another beget one-of-a-kind story progressions, and purposeful narrative dead ends and visually twisty pathing occasionally disorient. Information seeded across locations and dispensed by characters becomes meaningful later, as when a visit to a specific locale nets an answer to unlock an otherwise restricted area. Shiga uses wiry ink and a blue-hued palette to depict a moody environment, while clever dialogue and stout character design impart good humor, expertly composing extraordinary tales that interrogate the lengths to which communities will go to maintain the status quo. Ages 8–12. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Sept.)