From School Library Journal
Gr 3-6–A graphic novel about a pint-size kid taking over for his superhero idol, Smash is an action-packed crowd-pleaser. Fifth-grader Andrew Ryan is obsessed with local superhero The Defender. When he is killed in a freak accident, his powers are transferred to Andrew, who must adapt to his new heroic persona, dubbed “Smash.” He quickly learns that fighting crime isn't easy. In the concluding showdown with supervillain The Magus, Smash narrowly escapes to fight another day–but so does Magus. The final panel indicates more adventures to come. Andrew doesn't go through a miraculous transition from zero to hero–he has no idea how to harness his new powers. His missteps add humor to the mix and allow young readers to put themselves in the 10-year-old's shoes. The full-color artwork is full of kinetic energy. Action sequences are rendered with a cinematic feel, heightening every punch, explosion, and impact. Smash pays homage to the genre while adding tweaks that make it all feel fresh. This is sure to be a draw for superhero fans and reluctant readers alike.–Travis Jonker, Wayland Union Schools, MIα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Andrew is an ordinary kid who tries to avoid the school bullies, puts up with his annoying older brother, and dreams of meeting his superhero idol, Defender. When Defender is killed in a mysterious blast of power, his abilities are somehow transferred to Andrew. But being a superhero is more than just running fast and not throwing up while flying, and Andrew needs to learn quickly before Defender’s archenemy gets any closer.Though the Boltons don’t try to break any new ground here, they do add some much-needed realism—Andrew has a fear of heights (which makes flying complicated); his brother alternates between bullying Andrew and worrying about him; and the local police have trouble accepting a child as a superhero. Kyle Bolton’s cartoonish art recalls Frank Cammuso’s (The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, 2013), but it has a refreshingly everyday color palette. There is violence (it’s a superhero story, after all), but it is appropriate for the intended audience, and the ending leaves plenty of stories to tell in subsequent volumes. Grades 5-8. --Snow Wildsmith