Nothing Special, Vol. One: Through the Elder Woods

Ten Speed Graphic. Mar. 2024. 416p. ISBN 9781984862839. pap. $22.99. FANTASY
Callie spends her afternoons sulking around the grounds of Pioneer High School with a quorum of vegetable ghosts buzzing about. When her father disappears from his antique shop one afternoon, she realizes she must brave the magical realm he’s barred her from visiting. Her friend and not-so-subtle admirer Declan follows her in. Declan’s position as chief flunky is challenged by slightly slicker imp Lasser, bumbling lothario and 87th in line for the demon throne. Their quest leads them to find her father in thrall to a tree-woman with designs on their souls. Originally a webtoon, this story is full of geek culture dialogue, dramatic turns ending in jokes rather than consequences, and narrative arcs that spiral languidly before advancing the plot. The comic’s visual cuteness, however, is hard to resist—Callie’s silvery ponytail bobs endlessly, Declan’s moony blue eyes glow behind round-rimmed glasses, and the Greek chorus of vegetable ghosts cracks wise at perfect moments. Readers who enjoy winky banter and affable antics will find this a pleasant read, but they may grow impatient before the story’s denouement.
VERDICT Cook (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic) offers a fine idyll through a fabulistic world that’s an appealing read for cozy fantasy fans.
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