By Leroy Douresseaux
April 23, 2008 - 14:52
|Thanks to barnesandnoble.com for the image.|
Spy Goddess Vol. 1: The Chase for the Chalice is the latest publication in a joint venture between TOKYOPOP and HarperCollins. The venture has TOKYOPOP adapting select titles in HarperCollins “Young Adult” line into manga (“Global Manga” or OEL – Original English Language manga). So far the venture has yielded manga/graphic novel adaptations of such popular “YA” novel series as Avalon, Vampire Kisses, and Warriors.
Spy Goddess Vol. 1: The Chase for the Chalice is based on author Michael P. Spradlin’s Spy Goddess novels, which began publication with 2005 with Spy Goddess, Book One: Live and Let Shop. Author and manga writer, Rachel Manija Brown, and artist Rainbow Buddy (Yifan Ling) are the creators of this manga Spy Goddess.
The star of Spy Goddess is Beverly Hills princess Rachel Buchanan, a teen delinquent who found herself at Blackthorn Academy. Solving the mystery of the academy meant Rachel discovered that it is a school for spies.
The Chase for the Chalice finds Rachel and her classmates: her roommate Pilar Jordan; Pilar’s boyfriend, the arrogant Alex Scott; electronics genius Brent Christian; and Blackthorn’s headmaster, Jonathan Kim on a mission to Japan. There they’ll take on arch-nemesis Simon Blankenship and his Mithra cult. Blankenship believes that he is the reincarnation of the god, Mithra, and that Rachel is the embodiment of Mithra’s enemy, Etherea. Blankenship wants to sacrifice Rachel, and the teen and her fellow spies are on his trail. They’ll find friends, foes, double agents, and perhaps death in the land of the rising sun.
[This book contains an excerpt of the first Spy Goddess novel, Live and Let Shop.]
THE LOWDOWN: Spy Goddess the manga may not be a landmark work, but it sure is entertaining. Writer Rachel Manija Brown has created a snazzy, breezy read, deftly juggling introducing the Spy Goddess characters and concepts with building the danger and intrigue. Rainbow Buddy’s art looks as if it could have been taken directly from cel art produced for anime. This manga looks like it was produced for young readers. With its clear, clean, and soft visual presentation, it won’t imitate readers new to comics. In fact, it might capture their interests.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fits right in with the other TOKYOPOP/HarperCollins joints and should please those readers.