HOWTOONS: [RE]IGNITION VOLUME 1

PrintE-mail Written by Ian White

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: HOWTOONS: [RE]IGNITION VOLUME 1 / AUTHOR: FRED VAN LENTE / ARTIST: TOM FOWLER, JORDIE BELLAIRE / PUBLISHER: IMAGE / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 10TH

Greenhouse gases have swamped the Earth so our friends at Dinosaur Energy are about to implement a spectacular solution: blowing up nukes inside a volcano’s crater so that the resulting dust and ash will block the sun’s rays and slow down global warming.

Tuck and Celine’s parents are scientists. They know what’s about to happen is a bad idea and they’re going to try and stop it, but first they make sure that Tuck and Celine are safe in the underground bunker, being supervised by their computer nanny… err… N.A.N.N.I.

Celine plugs herself into the Dreamschool module so at least she can learn something while she’s sleeping. Tuck plays zombie videogames. When they wake up to find their parents haven’t returned and that Dinosaur Energy’s ‘solution’ has turned the Earth into a seemingly unpopulated lush green wilderness, they set out on a journey to find Mom and Dad for themselves. But this is no ordinary quest and they’re going to learn a lot of new things before they reach the end. In fact, we all will.

You know when you pick up a book and find yourself screaming “This is brilliant! Why didn’t I think of it?” Well, a lot of people are going to be screaming exactly that when they pick up Howtoons. This book is absolute genius but, like all the best genius ideas, the premise behind it is deceptively simple.

Howtoons: Re-Ignition is an educational comic book adventure that teaches us some pretty hardcore science (and is packed with a load of very cool projects to make-and-do) while it simultaneously keeps us entertained with a really smart exciting story. We find out about energy in all its forms – even how to get power from a potato or a peanut! – we learn how to make a go-kart, a homemade flashlight, and a submarine out of a water bottle (among many other experiments), and on the way we pick up hints about Morse code, encounter a tribe of orphans who zoom through the jungle on zip-lines and make a stomp rocket to defeat robot dinosaurs with.

Tuck and Celine, the hilariously bickering brother-and-sister double act, are brilliant guides; constantly trying to get the better of one another, escaping each dangerous scrape just in time to fall into a new one, but always there for each other no matter what happens. Tom Fowler’s artwork is gorgeous, Fred Van Lente’s writing is sharp-witted and incredibly clever (how they managed to incorporate the science so effortlessly into the story, without oversimplifying or making it too complicated, is remarkable) and anyone who picks this up, regardless of age, is going to love it.

We can’t recommend Howtoons highly enough.
 

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