The Maltese Mummy
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Our three favorite young detectives (well, two of them are young; the other is a talking dog) return in the second volume of Trina Robbins‘ and Tyler Page‘s Chicagoland Detective Agency series, “The Maltese Mummy” (Graphic Universe, 2011).
Megan wins a contest to see her favorite musician, Sun D’Arc (whose name and style evokes Japanese band L’Arc-en-Ciel — let it never be said that Robbins and Page haven’t done their research), but becomes suspicious when a new girl Jazmin seems a little too interesting in coming along and when Sun himself expresses a strange amount of interest in her friend William.
And what does all of this have to do with a traveling exhibit featuring the mummy of Ra-Hotep’s sarcophagus?
Now, of course the plot points are pretty obvious and most readers, even younger ones, will probably seem them coming. But that’s not so much the point. Megan’s a feisty heroine whose independent nature sometimes gets the better of her (she likely would’ve been better off trusting Jazmin from the beginning) but she does learn that teamwork the way to go. Even though Raf spends much of the book sick in bed, his insights do move the story forward. I wanted talking dog Bradley to have a bit more to do, but understandably, there are places dogs can’t go.
Robbins is clearly having fun and her wit never talks down to this book’s target audience. Kids are appreciated for being savvy and smart. Maybe some of them won’t quite get the jokes that compares aging rock stars to mummies, but I still love that Robbins includes those sorts of things here.
Page’s art continues to be animated and playful. There isn’t as much action here as there was in the initial volume, but his sense of page layout and facial expression keeps the book moving. He has a great way of making otherwise static scenes of two people talking seem dynamic.
I do think you do need to read the first one for this to make sense, but this is turning into a really fun little series. I’m sad there’s only going to be three of them.
For whatever reason, I feel like I don’t read too much about what Graphic Universe is doing, but as far as comics for children go, they are getting almost everything right.
Advance reading copy provided through NetGalley.