Akkad Book 2

Cinebook. Oct. 2022. 72p. pap. $11.95 ISBN 9781800440562.
Gr 8 Up–In the near future, humanity is at war with a race of time-traveling aliens who time-lock their invasion site, pulling it from our temporal reality into theirs. By the story’s start, most of the world is already inaccessible. To combat this, a group of teenagers are given a mind-altering drug by a shadowy organization that destroys their bodies as quickly as it unlocks their full mental potential. As they burn out, they discover a deeper conspiracy behind the experiments. If all that sounds like a lot to cover in just over 100 pages spread across two volumes, it’s because it is. The story is dense, introducing new plots, secrets, and double-crosses every couple pages. This makes for a difficult read that rarely takes the time to fully develop its admittedly very cool ideas. It’s a grim universe full of potential that is used and discarded far too quickly. To keep things moving, the art does what it can with solid pacing and some interesting framing. Like the story, though, it would benefit from more room to breathe. The scarablike aliens look cool and deserve some spreads to really sell the scope of the invasion. The cramped pages particularly hurt the lettering, with some poorly placed balloons leading to confusion.
VERDICT An intriguing universe that cries out for further development. Unfortunately, because the plot is dense and covers so much ground in so few pages, it’s difficult to recommend to any but the most dedicated science fiction fans.

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