Allison's comic shows contemporary British preteens and teens in school and at home, so American readers can see their everyday lives. Such things as monstrous creatures kidnapping toddlers and mysterious dogs that may not be dogs add fun to the story. This volume can stand alone--new readers get enough information about each of the six main characters as they read the story, and they will be able to pick up the British slang with no problem. The subplot involving a teacher investigating student smoking and the burning of the cricket pavilion makes the book more suitable for middle school age readers. There are also a few panels showing animals peeing, as well as some violence as Jack gets beaten by an older teen bully." - Voice of Youth Advocates
FOREWARD REVIEWS -- John Allison's acclaimed Bad Machinery series of graphic novels continues with The Case of the Unwelcome Visitor. The book follows Allison's six early-teen protagonists as they search for a new mystery to solve in their native town of Tackleford, England. The hoped-for mystery soon presents itself in the form of a "night creeper" who terrorizes Tackleford, leaving his victims with a strange, absent smile on their faces. With suspicions cast on the new boyfriends of one character's mother and sister, the kids team up with a local reporter to discover the truth. The Case of the Unwelcome Visitor offers a delicately balanced blend of the natural and supernatural, and Allison keeps a light, refreshing tone via humor, even as the mystery deepens; middle schoolers in particular will appreciate scenes like Charlotte convincing her mom she needs a girls' outing to go bra shopping, hiding Charlotte's true intention of meeting up with her fellow mystery solvers. The complex, intense emotions that accompany early adolescence are often handled playfully, but always sympathetically. There are no simple stereotypes, and Allison's writing and art benefit from a natural, easy flow, being the product of one mind that does both equally well. By spreading the focus across his large stable of characters, Allison has not only kept this sixth volume in the series from seizing up and stalling, he's got it running smoothly on all gears.
"Originally published as a serialized webcomic, The Case of the Team Spirit introduces a group of British tweens involved in a mystery. A series of strange events leads some people to believe that the local Tackleford City Football Club is cursed. Meanwhile, plans for a new stadium are being blocked by tough old Mrs. Biscuits. Six students become unlikely detectives, unraveling the case while navigating life as first-year grammar school students. Each comic is built to stand alone while connecting to the larger story, sometimes stalling momentum. The quirky dialogue includes significant doses of snark. The vivid, full-color illustrations are lovely. The line work is smooth, well defined, and efficient, successfully conveying the emotions of the characters. The large trim size and simple panel layouts add to the visual appeal. Back matter includes a glossary of lesser-known UK terms and phrases used in the book, brief bios of each character, and a mock newspaper history of the Tackleford Football Club. Unique in both story and tone, this title is perfect for graphic-novel fans looking for something a bit different. " - School Library Journal
"Think Scooby-Doo via Daniel Clowes with a healthy dollop of sharp British sarcasm-it really is so much fun and shows off Allison at the top of his powers." - An Englishman in San Diego
"In the conversation about young superheroes, John Allison should be right up in there with the very best writers and artists that comics has to offer. I think I've recommended every volume of Bad Machinery as part of 'Best Comics Ever' thus far, but there's a dashed good reason-it's a blinding good comic." - Comics Alliance