When I first saw the cover of Apocalypse Taco, I was wondered if it was going to be a mystery or a cultural coming of age story. I never expected mutant tacos that replicate cars or a multiple armed and legged person who is besties with a tooth monster. Never having read Nathan Hale, I had no idea what to expect. But then again, I did not expect mutant bee-squid creatures or alien dimensions. But, of course, neither did our main characters, 11-year-old twins Axl and Ivan and their 16-year-old-just-got-her-license driver, Sid.
What could have been one of the greatest fantasy/science fiction graphic novel I had read to date turned into something that was less than desirable due to the busy illustrations and since my copy was a reader copy, unfinished artwork and coloring (however, looking at Amazon images the color issue seems to have worked out nicely). Plus, not to mention (but I am) plot point holes. But even then, I could have enjoyed the ride. After all, who does not love a set of kids (one wearing a cargo kilt) trying to save the world? Who does not love a bad-mama-teen who obeys the traffic laws, even though their taco dinner is chasing them and trying to kill them? And not the figuratively “my taco is killing me” but literally? Who does not love using your wits, friendship and a windshield scraper to get out of a scrape? But the ending ruins it!
I was rooting for everyone to come out of the alien world, stop the worst roommate ever, grab some fast food and set up the staging for the play. I was hoping that the good guys win the day and the bad guy does not get desert. But instead, (as mentioned above) there were holes in the story (the small ones include why did only some students get the cargo kilts? Why did the character who gave Axl his did not want it? Larger ones: Why did nobody realize the grad students were missing? How did the replicator eyes happen?). There are holes in the flow of the plot (there are descriptions within descriptions, and I was not always sure where we were or who was speaking). And while it says it is aimed at ages 8 to 12, I am thinking there are some pretty far out things that might really upset an eight-year-old (as they scared the poo outta me and I am waaay past eight). And that ending. Oh boy, was that the wrong turn to make!
Not only is it a closed/but still open-end-hints-at-a-sequel ending, one major plot twist happens that somewhat feels cheap (but hence, the sequel option). The whole thing should have been honestly wrapped up neatly and be a one-time-read. I need my happily-ever-after.