The town of Weeville has a pest problem. Underneath this cozy farming community is a network of tunnels and caverns inhabited by giant killer insects. Fortunately a group of high school kids, under the tutelage of Mr. Kettleborne, have been trained in the ways of extermination and manage to keep the creepy crawlers in check. This bug versus humanity balance is poised to change as the infamous Valley May’s farm (the site of a 70’s insurrection where Kettleborne went from suave young man to Nick Fury look alike) is purchased from the bank by a father and son bent on putting it back into production. David Lapham (of Stray Bullets fame) has envisioned a young-reader friendly tale that is equal parts action and humor. The artwork is classic Lapham with a heavy emphasis on facial expressions and sparse yet oddly evocative backdrops. The dialog is compelling and characters are introduced and rounded off quickly without the aftertaste of being spoon-fed. Lapham captures teen dialog and imagination deftly throughout. My favorite panel comes in the middle of the book as young Bill Farnsburger imagines converting a rock outcropping into a fort in blue line as if it emerged straight from an engineering drawing.
I understand story-wise why a pair of farmers would be operating a ground-penetrating radar, but I have no idea why they would own one nor how a teenage kid could operate one, never mind interpreting the results. Nor am I sure a parent would allow their kid to excavate the foundation of their recently imagined fort. I guess Henry Farnsburger is just a way cooler dad than I am.
An interesting concept that is deftly written and drawn by a modern master of indie comics. Enjoy this young-reader friendly book with your kid instead of the recently released dino-turd The Midas Flesh.
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