Do you have little ones in your life who are drawn to the world of comics through movies, cartoons, and video games, but you’re not sure what to start them with, or even know what’s appropriate?

We got you! Books for Babes provides info on books that kids will definitely enjoy, but also end up being entertaining for adults. This week we recommend ‘Cosmo’, an all-new space-faring series from Archie Comics.

Cover to 'Cosmo' #1. Art by Tracy Yardley and Matt Herms/Archie Comics

Cover to ‘Cosmo’ #1. Art by Tracy Yardley and Matt Herms/Archie Comics

By Stefania Rudd. There’s a new kid — er, alien on the block, and… um… what I mean to say is, there’s a new alien in the Archie Comics universe. And, to be specific, he isn’t all that new. In fact, the latest series from the Archie folks dates back 60 years, when Space Race fever was dominating the U.S. (and the rest of the world) in the late 1950s. Sadly, “Cosmo the Merry Martian” only lasted six issues. Which brings us to now.

The creative team of Cosmo — writer Ian Flynn, illustrator Tracy Yardley, and colorist Matt Herms — are here to bring that friendly Martian into the 21st Century. And, being a space-faring fella who roams the cosmos, he may have already passed us by in his travels. That whole space-time thing can really get confusing sometimes.

In the first issue of Cosmo we meet human earthling astronaut, Max Strongjaw, taking verbal notes via his mission log as his ship slowly gets pulled into the tractor beams of a much larger ship. Even though he comes across as a braggart on his recordings, he immediately retreats once his ship door opens. It’s here that we meet the Martian crew, lead by Cosmo, all of whom naturally turn out to be more friend than foe. After some funny misunderstandings, Max lets his guard down long enough to learn that this group of Martians travel the galaxy for adventure and discovery. In fact, they were on their way to the Moon to find a distress signal emenating from a theme park built on the dark side.

Theme park?! Yes, a theme park. But we wouldn’t know about it anyway, because our Earth technology is so underdeveloped it’s amazing we can get into space at all. So, similar to the original Archie series, where each issue of Cosmo ended with a cliffhanger, we get ours in this first issue. I won’t say what our heroes find in the theme park. But I will say they certainly get there just in time.

Interior page from 'Cosmo' #1. Art by Tracy Yardley, Matt Herms, and Jack Morelli/Archie Comics

Interior page from ‘Cosmo’ #1. Art by Tracy Yardley, Matt Herms, and Jack Morelli/Archie Comics

If the creative team seems familiar, it’s because they’ve previously worked on Sonic the Hedgehog for Archie. The synergy is already there, which makes this issue incredibly successful. Flynn’s writing is fast-paced and playful. And while his use of scientific vocabulary may be a bit too challenging for younger readers, they will certainly enjoy the story; there are plenty of clever asides between characters, and jokes that keep the overall story light, especially when things get a bit sticky.

Yardley and Herms take the classic iconography of Cosmo and launch it to a new (but still familiar) place. It has an anime vibe, part Astro Boy, part Sonic, part Mega Man. The rest of Cosmo’s crew varies in size and coloring, and bring different skills to the team, indicated by their clothing and gadgets. As for Max, he’s exactly what you’d imagine: muscular, a strong jaw… which makes sense, given his last name. The coloring is bright and vibrant, and gives the book an appropriately sleek, spacey vibe.

One fun aspect of this series is the ability to visit worlds and meet people/beings who aren’t forced to conform to any perceived standards. That will go a long way to give the creative team the freedom to build and develop around Cosmo, his crew, and their earthling visitor-friend. If this first issue is any indication of what’s to come, I say we are in for quite the ride. It’s wonderful that Archie has invested in another solid all-ages book, one that entices new readers and captivates us long-time fans eager for something new. Engage!

Archie Comics/$2.99

Written by Ian Flynn.

Art by Tracy Yardley.

Colors by Matt Herms.

Letters by Jack Morelli.

This book contains “older kid” vocabulary words.

Age range: 4-7; 8-11; 16+

That’s it for this week! Has Books For Babes helped you out at all? We want to know! Feel free to send feedback our way in the comments section below.