Gr 4-7 In legendary comic creator Lee's first prose novel, two factions, each comprised of people who harness animal power from the Chinese zodiac, fight to control the fate of the world. While visiting a museum in China, Steven Lee's life changes forever when he follows his mysterious tour guide's screams for help, leading him to a secret room where Maxwell, a power hungry war contractor, accidentally releases an ancient zodiac power into the world. Now equipped with the aggressive fighting prowess of the Tiger, Steven teams up with Jasmine, the fake tour guide who has been fighting Maxwell's group for years, to travel the world and find the other hosts. Along with a feisty singer, a brawler from Ireland, a techie, and an extremely shy girl, Steven must learn to control his powers in order to defeat Maxwell. The first installment in a planned trilogy, Zodiac has everything readers would expect from Stan Lee: plenty of action, a fast-paced plot, a villain who is driven more by misguided ideals than pure evil, and a group of young, ordinary people trying to make sense of their newfound powers. Illustrations by Tong, known for his work on superhero comics in the UK, add to the book's appeal. A cliff-hanger ending leaves readers wanting more. Give this to superhero enthusiasts and fans of adventure stories; it will fly off the shelves. Marissa Lieberman, East Orange Public Library, NJ—SLJ
3Q 5P M After the death of his beloved grandfather, teenager Steven Lee is sent to Hong Kong by his parents who want him to become more knowledgeable about his Chinese-American heritage. Here, during an unexceptional class field trip to the New China Heritage Museum, something extraordinary happens when he breaks away from the group to investigate an unusual sound. There, in the museum's sub-basement, he witnesses the frightening transformative power created by the combination of ancient artifacts and modern technology. This discovery initiates Steven's inclusion in an international group of young people who have been recruited to stop the power-hungry Maxwell and his manic mercenaries from accomplishing world domination. Using the fascinating mythology of the Chinese zodiac as the plot device that drives the story, the authors have created a world in which the powers of twelve unique animals can be transferred to a select group of people. The characters that are destined to use the powers are extremely stereotypical; however, instead of being offensive and off-putting, this heavy-handed typecasting comes across as familiar and comical. This is understandable, as the text reads like a verbal description of a detailed visual. Basically, the narrative is a running description of the characters, setting, and action that would be found in each illustrated panel of a comic book. Action-packed and heavily illustrated, this first book in a projected series should appeal to middle school students who are fans of Stan Lee, anime, graphic novels, superheroes, and the works of Rick Riordan.-Lynne Farrell Stover.—VOYA
In this series opener that marks Marvel comics legend Lee's debut for kids, 12 people-some heroes, some villains-receive superpowers based on the signs of the Chinese zodiac. The heroes, of course, are the youngest characters in the book. The descriptive prose is as spare and unambiguous as an old-fashioned interactive computer game-think "Zork," from the 1970s. "[The stairway] was made of wood, with a creaky old railing beside it. The walls were worn metal, stained and weathered by time." But the book contains enough fight scenes for several issues of a Marvel comic, and they're joyously inventive. People reveal their characters by the way they fight. A tiny girl with the ability to teleport wins fights by running away, over and over again, until the other person is exhausted; she's the Rabbit. These confrontations aren't described with the clarity Lee and Moore use to talk about the settings. Readers may have to look at a few passages twice to figure out just who hit whom. Fortunately, Tong loves drawing battle scenes. Pages and pages are crammed with energetic black-and-white drawings of people bounding around the room. But the characters are so engaging that the scenes where they're joking around and telling ridiculous stories are more entertaining than the battle sequences. The prose may be too bare-bones for some readers, but the surprises are genuine, and the cliffhangers will bring people back for the next adventure. (Adventure. 8-12)—Kirkus
Lee, the famed co-creator of such Marvel superheroes as Spider-Man and the X-Men, presents his first novel. Kicking off the Zodiac Legacy series, this action-driven outing is very much what his fans might expect. Chinese-American 14-year-old Steven Lee, on an educational tour of Hong Kong, stumbles on a secret plot to control the super powers of the Chinese Zodiac, perpetrated by Maxwell, a mercenary general seeking world domination. Steven accidentally gains the power of the Tiger and is immediately drawn into an emerging group of zodiac-powered young heroes dedicated to stopping Maxwell and his band of similarly zodiac-enhanced thugs. As the two sides race around the globe to corral the remaining powers and their wielders, Lee and Moore deliver desperate chases, bombastic banter, and increasing spectacular confrontations, albeit with a tendency toward over- description ("Maxwell reached out and backhanded her across the face. His hand swept through the air, leaving a trail of Dragon fire in its wake"). This frenetic light adventure should please readers who already love the Marvel universe and nurse their own dreams of superpowered glory. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8 12.—PW
is known to millions as the man whose Super Heroes propelled Marvel to its preeminent position in the comic book industry. His co-creations include Spider-Man,
The Avengers, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, as well as hundreds of others. He introduced Spider-Man
as a syndicated newspaper strip that became the most successful of all syndicated adventure strips and has appeared in more than 500 newspapers worldwide. Stan currently remains Chairman Emeritus of Marvel, as well as a member of the Editorial Board of Marvel Comics. He is also the Chairman & Chief Creative officer of POW! Entertainment, a multimedia entertainment company based in Beverly Hills, CA.
Stuart Moore has been a writer, a book editor, and an award-winning comics editor. His recent writing includes Civil War, the first in a new line of prose novels from Marvel Comics, The Art of Iron Man 3 (Marvel, with Marie Javins); and THE 99, a multicultural super hero comic from Teshkeel.
Andie Tong has worked on titles for various franchises, including Tron: Betrayal, Spectacular Spider-Man UK, The Batman Strikes, Smallville, Wheel of Time, TMNT, Masters of the Universe, and Starship Troopers, working for companies such as Disney, Marvel, DC Comics, Panini, Dark Horse, and Dynamite Entertainment, as well as commercial illustrations for numerous advertising agencies including Nike, Universal, CBS, Mattel, and Habsro. When he gets the chance, Andie concept designs for various companies, and also juggles illustration duties on a range of children's picture storybooks for Harper Collins. Malaysian born, Andie migrated to Australia at a young age, and then moved to London in 2005. In 2012, he journeyed back to Asia and currently resides in Singapore with this wife and daughter.