When I reviewed the first issue of this series, I remarked that it's just the kind of thing my soon-to-be-nine-year-old son would love. Well, I read issue #2 aloud to my five-year-old daughter who is a big fan of all things Wonder Woman and "Tiny Titans." She was immediately drawn to the Camilla D'Errico cover, with its manga-influenced characters and earth tones contrasted with a pink-haired girl. And as I finished reading the final page, and said, "to be continued. . ." she shouted, "we have to get the next one! I want to know what happens next!"
That's the kind of reaction you want from any reader, and Josh Wagner and Camilla D'Errico get exactly that, not just from a five-year-old girl, but from her father as well. As I recounted last time, this series is tied into a video game release, with the fifth and final issue set to hit the stands right around the time the DS and Wii game hits the shops. But "Sky Pirates of Neo Terra" doesn't read like a cash grab or a promotional tool. It's a charming fantasy world, simplistic in its good vs. evil conflict, but lovingly rendered by the talented D'Errico and colorist Simon Bork.
In issue #2, the battle with the giant wolf-creature that ended the first issue comes to an abrupt conclusion as we find out that the creature is more of a friend than a foe, delivering information about an abducted ally, and some exposition about the crystals of light. Wagner and D'Errico handle the exposition well, though, using it to establish the rules by which this fantasy world operates, and moving things along swiftly enough that we don't feel like we're being told some boring old history lesson full of made up names. That my daughter was enthralled by the back story tells you that it was just the right balance of information and suspense. She wanted to know what happened to the creature's land. She wanted to find out more about the magic crystals.
And, honestly, so did I.
This is a comic about children trying to save an adult from diabolical forces, but the kids are savvy -- not cutesy savvy, but just good at what they do -- and the character designs and clean storytelling make the whole thing a pleasure to read.
"Sky Pirates of New Terra" #2, a true all-ages adventure, is better than a video game tie-in has any right to be. And though I'm only willing to give it four stars, to indicate that it's a very good little comic book, my daughter thinks it's worth at least twelve.
"Twelve?" I asked her. "But five is the highest. You can't give it more than five stars." "It's twelve," she said with a smile. "Twelve."