Comic in Print Review: The World of Quest, volumn 1

Did your grade school have a big toy? A big piece of play ground equipment for the kinds the climb all over to burn off extra energy and possibly hurt themselves. My school had a great big toy. It came with all the essential big toy parts, ladders, slides, monkey bars but ours also have a castle, complete with turrets and a draw bridge, a space ship with lasers, a view screen and a helpful robot and a superhero/supervillian lair full of all kinds of super equipment.

While all the “cool kids” (no one is really cool in fourth grade) were playing football and trying to kiss girls, my friends and I were having the time of our lives pretending to be all the cartoon heroes of the time: Ninja Turtles, He-man, Darkwing Duck, the Thundercats. I don’t know who kids these days are pretending to be, but they should be imaging that they are in the World of Quest.

The first book in The World of Quest series is excellent. It’s the kind of book I wish I had when I was younger. Heck, it kinda makes me want have kids now just so I can read it to them. It’s the Holy Grail of children’s entertainment that is not only can be tolerated by adults but can and will be honestly enjoyed.

I had a great time reading, and rereading The World of Quest 1, by Jason Kruse. I’ve always been a fan of fantasy stories of almost any kind so this tale of heroes, monsters and magic was right up my alley. However I think that anybody with any sense of fun will have a good time reading this book.

The story is solid. It uses some very common fantasy themes, a young prince (Nestor) is looking for a series of magical items with the help of a grizzled old exiled hero (Quest) all the while being attacked by various henchmen of the maniacally evil villain (Lord Spite). But since the book is aimed at kids the target audience probably won’t pick up on the clichés and they are so well done that most parents and teachers won’t really care too much.

The dialog is one of my favorite parts of this book. Most kids books I read, sound like they are talking down to the children. I don’t get that vibe from this book. The conversations between the characters are fun and flow really well. There are a few words most kids will have to ask an adult about, but that’s kind of the point of reading so that’s a good thing.

The art direction of this series is top notch. The pages are bright and colorful and full of life. Everything is drawn with a great sense of style. It’s a very unique and cartoony take on traditional fantasy monsters and archetypes making this book even more perfect for younger readers. The character designs are some of the best I’ve ever seen in any comic for any age group.

The Kids WB has made a TV series out these books. I’ve seen a little bit of what they are doing and it looks like crap. All the charm and fun of the books are replaced with Yu-Gi-Oh looking versions of the original. And the dialog seems dumbed down for the kids who don’t read much.

The World of Quest is pure fun. It takes a high fantasy world, like those of Tolkien or Lewis, and tweaks it until everything serious or boring is gone and only the joy remains. If you love your children and want them to love comic books, get this book for them.

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