Step aside all you Pandavas (heroes), Aru (and Mini) are in town! Aru Shah and the End of Time: the Graphic Novel is a heavy feminist take on the hero/heroine story arc. Two Indian American girls (who are two of the reincarnated Pandava brothers who battled in a civil war with their 1000 cousins), must battle mythical beings, with help from the Gods that claim them. With quirky humor mixed in, this heavy on text graphic novel has some fun illustrations, interesting adventures and a great introduction to the mythology and folklore of India. In some ways this is an easier to read Percy Jackson series, as it has elements of that theme (gods, children of gods, father figures, and in later books similar themes such as stolen property of gods (I peeked at what book two was about as the graphic novel ends on an open note).
The overall take is this is a fun book, but nothing WOW! Of course it is enjoyable. I might even find the full length novels the graphic novel is based on. Roshani Chokshi’s ideas might not be new, but they are familiar and, with their diverse characters, take the reader on a new path. Joe Armagna’s adaptation feels like it might be a tad younger than the novels (the character I believe is supposed to be around 13, but looks and acts younger), but also keeping with the aged ten and up reader.
And though this edition is a bit heavier on the text, the art of Anu Chouhan is not shirked on. The colors and details are perfect for what is needed. Things are soft, few edges (even the lightning bolt seems a bit cuddly). Everything is upbeat, and created to take the seriousness down a smidgen. Then again, no matter how serious things are, a person in the underworld, with a stereotypical look of a person from India (the handlebar mustache, the outfit, a little pudgy) with a “This is what a Feminist looks like” t-shirt is going to be funny.