- Series: Bad Machinery
- Paperback: 136 pages
- Publisher: Oni Press (March 25, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1620101149
- ISBN-13: 978-1620101148
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.6 x 12.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bad Machinery Volume 2: The Case of the Good Boy Paperback – March 25, 2014
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Throughout the town of Tackleford, toddlers are being snatched up by a beastlike creature. Clearly this is a job for two groups of teen detectives: girls Mildred, Charlotte, and Shauna, who are also busy dealing with Mildred’s magic pencil and a strange new pet that might not really be a dog; and boys Linton, Sonny, and Jack, who is crushing on Shauna and dealing with a violent school bully. Allison’s series begins to hit its stride in this second volume, after The Case of the Team Spirit (2013). Though the characters don’t get much of an introduction, even new fans will quickly pick up on who’s who, thanks to distinctive body and face shapes and unique personalities. The story veers between realism and fantasy, with just a touch of absurdism to keep things fun. Teens will likely admire Sonny’s stubborn uniqueness, laugh at Shauna’s reluctant love of her baby brother, and appreciate Mildred’s ability to skirt her parents’ sillier rules. The bright, colorful art and snarky dialogue are icing on a delightful cake. Grades 7-10. --Snow Wildsmith
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Top Customer Reviews
There are a lot of good reasons for the strip's popularity. While the book follows just one mystery, the collection really reflects multiple story lines. First, of course, is the mystery that arcs through the whole book. (Here, toddlers are disappearing, although as DCI Carver notes, "There are thousands of children...but only nine have vanished....We urge people not to become hysterical if they can possibly avoid it."). Next, though, the series is seasoned by "one off" jokes and bits that only take a strip or two or three to set up a laugh. Finally, there are issues, characters and relationships that are developed in this series but that will continue to appear and develop in later books as well. Each kid has family issues and school issues and personal issues that pop up from time to time. This adds a lot of depth and interest to the whole undertaking, and reminds me very strongly of "Doonesbury", which followed a very similar pattern.
Also in the style of "Doonesbury", Allison has a real command of "minimalist" or succinct humor. You only get a few panels per strip, and only so many words. You have to set up a situation, work it, and then deliver a payoff with just a few drawings and a few well chosen words. Some of the best laughs are deadpan throwaway lines. That is just brutally difficult to do, (think of how many bad imitators of artist/humorist Gary Larson's "Far Side" are out there), and Allison pulls it off brilliantly.
Plus, each of the six teens, and almost all of the secondary characters, (parents, teachers), are individually realized and engaging. Within a few pages this is not a comic book, but as compelling as any YA novel. Added to that is the fact that the dialogue is fast, sharp, and witty, and yet generous. It is not snarky or mean spirited, and is ultimately good-natured, if a bit edgy. As a result you end up liking these people as much as they like each other and sympathizing with their various predicaments and foibles. (Again, echoes of "Doonesbury".)
So, a light authorial touch, insight, humor, and engaging characters. Just keep these collection volumes coming.
Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to the author or the publisher of this book.
Allison's writing is quite sharp. He has (I'm afraid I'll have resort to cliche here) a great ear for dialogue, and a knack for plots that seem to rise up like a soufflé, with all the attendant tension. I'm underselling the dialog, which continues to delight me each time I reread a story.
His characters are rich, true, lovable, and much better developed than you'd expect - or even think possible - in this format. They're also sweet (but not cloying) and *interesting.* That sounds like faint praise; it isn't.
A word about the art: enchanting. Runners up include whimsical, fluid, daft and deft. Spotting his work from across the room is like seeing an old, dear friend.
Finally, the book itself is a pleasure to hold. It's enormous, which doesn't always work for comics, but in this case means bright, crisp pages that let the art shine.
Allison is a master, and is one of my favorite comics creators, no doubt.
I (and my cash) eagerly await for Volume 3.
If you'll only be happy with another Shelley and Amy SGR story, you won't be happy with this book. If you enjoyed SGR's side stories (like "Giant Days") where Mr. Allison enriched previously-secondary characters in an entertaining new way, give this series a try. You won't regret it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Why I picked it up: I loved the first volume and was eager to read more about Shauna, Mildred, Charlotte, Linton, Jack, and Sonny's...Read more