Are you looking for an interesting look at a boy’s adventures as he tries to get to home as he is late for dinner? Then, Action Tank (Action Tank Volume 1) created by Mike Barry could be the read you are looking for. Or not. That is because I am not completely sure what I read and therefore, unable to say it is what you are looking for.
We open the story onto barren panels and a boy laying there on the ground. Wearing what seems to be a spacesuit. The narrator says to us there is a boy who awakens to realize he is not wearing his clothes, yes it’s a spacesuit, and he is unsure where he is. Well, I am thinking he should be thinking it is either one really screwed up dream, or he is in H-E-double-hockey-sticks. Especially when the talking horse/unicorn (with four horns and an eye patch, named Rex) starts talking to him (I was looking for other unicorns to start chanting, “Charlie!” Or for it to stab the boy as it kinda looked like the unicorn in If Ur Stabby by Kaz Windness). Real or in his imagination, adventures happen. We basically are reading about a boy who is in a “live action” video game. He has to go on quests to find things, use them to level up and then he’ll be able to get home. But since this is book one, we realize he will not. And he does not disappoint, as we end with him flying off into space for the next adventure.
There are abstract concepts, but at the same time everything is straightforward. That contraction is really the least odd thing about the book. What I found to be the most odd was the several pages of crowded text representing the spacesuit/Space Cadet (the boy is told he is a Cadet) manual. I would like to have had the completed story, as the one issue of the series at a time might (probably will) make me lose interest in following installments. I mean, I might go on, but I am not sure (though volume two is due by the end of the month of September 2023). I am not sure if I really am invested or not in these characters (so far two talking, one bird and a rocket ship). The minimalistic artwork is surreal. But not surprising as the text is sparse, too. Yet, it was not a case of me hating it, or even really disliking it, I just was not loving or even really liking it. The atmosphere would be likened to the David Hewlett movie for adults, Nothing. Only there are things in the images of the graphic novel (Nothing really has nothing). Yet, emptiness is the focus of things. It is complicated.
I cannot say this was a horrible book, but I also cannot say it was a great book. It is a book that gets some love from me because it gives props to the planet Pluto. It is an experience. The publisher’s description says it is for ages 8 to 11 and I could see even 12 (and of course, adults, too). It is a young feeling story, but there is something about it that is also very mature. Therefore, like any book, know your reader.