Book Of The Month – December 2011
Gladstone’s School For World Conquerors – Vol. 1
Written by Mark Andrew Smith
Illustrated by Armand Villavert
You’d be surprised how many people have contacted me asking for a good ‘all ages’ comic book that I can recommend for their child. Now that’s always a tricky subject; how old are we talking? Are they enjoying titles like Dragon Puncher and Tiny Titans, or are they a little more mature and think Super Dinosaur is the bees-knees? You don’t want them to feel like you’re babying them by giving them a title like Owlie, when in fact they’re reading something like Runaways. It’s a fine line, and there are very few titles that will please everyone.
Imagine my sigh of relief when I picked-up the first issue of Gladstone’s School For World Conquerors earlier this year. From the get-go it read like a fun comic I could let my younger cousin borrow as soon as I was done reading it, and we could both talk about what we loved about the series. While other comics from Marvel and DC might have decades of continuity attached to the characters, with Gladstone’s you get a completely new universe to play in, with enough exposition to keep you interested and excited to find out more about the characters.
And talk about a batch of characters! While with other teen superhero teams, it’s all about training them to be the best they can be to take care of the supervillains, Gladstone’s is the exact opposite; the teen supervillains are in classes learning how to be the ultimate world conquerors (as the title suggests). We follow the team of Kid Nefarious, Ghost Girl, Martian Jones, Mummy Girl, and the Skull Brothers as they idolize their parents and supervillains of old, while accidentally discovering banned materials known as ‘comic books’, portraying their parents as bumbling morons. Infuriated, they then make it their mission to get revenge on those heroes who painted their parents in such a bad light. Little do they know however, that there’s been a treaty between heroes and villains, and all the fights they see on television are actually staged for entertainment. Will the students make a dreadful mistake that upsets the balance between good and evil that’s been protected for all these years? Well, you’ll just have to pick-up the trade and find out!
Gladstone’s School For World Conquerors is such a spectacular display of everything you could want in a teen supervillain book. The character designs and stunning visuals by Armand Villavert are such fun to look at, and this universe that Mark Andrew Smith has created is so magnificent to explore, that I can hardly wait for the next volume to start in 2012! If you’re looking for something fresh and new when it comes to superpowered beings, the first volume of Gladstone’s is definitely worth your money.