Friday 20 January 2023

Super Sidekicks: No Adults Allowed

Super Sidekicks: No Adults Allowed by Gavin Aung Than (Penguin Random House) PB RRP $17.99 ISBN: 9781761049323

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Junior Justice, Flygirl and Dinomite are sick of being taken for granted by adult superheroes, so they start their own group: the Super Sidekicks. They are soon joined by Goo – the viscous accomplice of their nemesis, Dr Enok – who just wants to be treated kindly. When Dr Enok abducts Goo and takes him back to his evil lair, the Super Sidekicks have to overcome a super-sized serving of self-doubt to save their new friend.

A bright and bold graphic novel, Super Sidekicks: No Adults Allowed is ideal for hesitant readers aged eight to eleven. The basic premise – children can do plenty of amazing things without the help of adults – will appeal to all kids, and the superhero storyline is packed with stacks of gags, action and aha moments. In his four sidekicks, Gavin Aung Than has given readers role models for life: kids who love physical fitness, science, and literature, and who aren’t afraid to be themselves.

Brash colours bound from the pages and bedazzle the eyes. Panels of varying shapes – as well as illustrations that defy constraint within boxes – allow movement to explode from the spreads. Gavin’s characterisation of the sidekicks is reminiscent of other superhero comics (such as Teen Titans Go!) but still retains a somewhat unique charm – especially the bubblegum-like Goo.

Mateship and mettle come to the fore in Super Sidekicks: No Adults Allowed. The dynamic story empowers young readers to step out of the shadows and show the world what they can do.

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