Books for Babes provides info on the sort of comics that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. This week we recommend ‘’Pandora’s Legacy’, out November 28 from KaBOOM!, an imprint of BOOM! Studios.
THIS REVIEW OF ‘PANDORA’S LEGACY’ OGN CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.
by Stefania Rudd. Family vacations at your grandparents’ house may not be the most fun, but if you have siblings to commiserate with along with snacks and cable TV, you can fare pretty well. Often times you’re left to your own devices and you get to explore, making discoveries that can lead you to learn more about yourself and those people you call kin. In the upcoming BOOM! Studios graphic novel Pandora’s Legacy, this is exactly the kind of vacation Charlie, Janet, and Trevor Panagakos experience. However, they uncover a long-held family secret that involves the protections of a certain well-known box. (Hint’s in the title of the book.)
The Panagakoses seem like your typical family. They take Greek lessons from their ya-ya, listen to tales about the accomplishments from generations before them—that kind of thing. However, it is quickly revealed that they are far from typical when they discover a secret Grecian garden tucked away in their grandparents’ backyard. Having never seen it before, Charlie, Janet, and Trevor (and their cat, Po) begin exploring the garden, which causes a chain of life-altering events to occur.
The first happening takes place when Trevor breaks a seemingly innocent looking vase. From there the story takes on a rapid pace, and maintains this energy through to the very last page. Writer Kara Leopard ([Super]natural Attraction) finds a way to fuse action, family, and Greek mythology into a really clever story. They are also great at finding ways to lighten intense moments by using humor to diffuse the situation. For example, after the vase is broken, Po now has the ability to talk. And he is no longer just their cuddly kitten, he is the Titan Prometheus, and quickly becomes the guide to their new and exciting world — all while remaining in their kitty’s tiny body, naturally.
Leopard captures the three siblings’ dynamics very well; they bicker, they’re concerned for each other’s safety, and they clearly love one another. We’re also introduced to the childrens’ two older siblings and other family members through a series of flashbacks which reveal the “How did we get here?” particulars of the plot. Pandora’s Legacy begins to thread these characters and elements together with bits of information over time, which results in an exciting confluence of events.
The artistic team of Kelly and Nichole Matthews take iconic mythological beings and have them engage with our more grounded characters in colorful and detailed settings. The team (who are identical twins!) have also worked on Jim Henson’s Power of The Dark Crystal, so they are no strangers to this level of fantasy. I loved their interpretation of these mythical creatures, especially the mermaids, depicting them as the beguiling enchantresses as they are. There are lighthearted moments that really shine thanks to their efforts — a cute bit occurs when Trevor fixes a broken brown clay vase with neon pink leopard duct tape. The color palette overall is earthy, at times ethereal; each panel is filled with rich details that build upon the complexity of the locations in which the Panagakoses find themselves. It’s easy to get swept up by it.
Leopard takes a subject that many kids will cover in school (Greek mythology) and finds a new twist to make it even more fun and interesting. We know the Olympian gods and goddesses at times interfered with the lives of mortals, and this is a fun way to show how lasting that interference could be. Pandora’s Legacy is a wonderful story of family loyalty, one that conveys a sense of responsibility to something larger than ourselves. It’s a modern day tale with just the right amount of antiquity to keep the old guard satisfied. Discover it for yourself.
Written by Kara Leopard.
Art by Kelly & Nichole Matthews.
Translation by Mark Bence.
This book contains mythical monsters, sibling fighting, and value-based lessons.
Age range: 10 and up
‘Pandora’s Legacy’ OGN hits stores November 28!