Time Flyz

 Time Flyz

TimeFlyz volumes 1 and 2, 2007, Zondervan, Ben Avery (writer) Adi Darda Guadiamo (artist), black-and-white, digest-sized manga-style book, 152 pages (volume one)/150 pages (volume two), $9.99 each.

This is a cute little series that I had trouble getting into, maybe because the protagonist is a ten-year-old girl, and I have very little in common with ten-year-old girls, for some reason. The concept is intriguing, with cybernetic time-traveling flies and a neat little mystery of a plot that has really got me thinking. Adi Darda’s art is a great fit for this book, and the flies each have their own look, although similar enough to cause confusion until they all get sorted out. The plot, however, might be difficult for the target audience to follow, as it delves into history, physics, and time paradoxes, among other things, but could be a fun ride for kids who don’t take all that too seriously as well as those who can invest the mental energy and actually figure it all out. I was also reading the other five ZGN series1 first two issues when I was reading this title, so the subtleties were lost.

Ben Avery (fill in your favorite Ben Avery title here “_______________”) is in top form (is he ever NOT in top form? This guy could write the hump of a camel!) with a complex plot, fully realized characters, and a big-bad setup that gives a face to the present threat but leaves the puppet-master in the shadows at least through the second volume. Adi Darda1s artwork is fantastic, rendering the multiple unique cyber-insects, drawing from extreme perspectives, and populating the story with both real historical people (Ben Franklin, Imhotep) and fictional characters, blending the two believably. His cartoony style doesn1t get old, and his mastery of the craft is evident

The historical characters play major parts in the story, as someone or something is kidnapping the great inventors throughout time, and we get to meet them as the characters do. It would do the book well to add a page in the back with more information about the actual personalities and lives of these great men (and, I presume eventually women, although the first two books feature only male inventors), as it is vague whether the events actually happened (with the TimeFlyz playing an incidental part) or if these are entirely fictional events. Even something urging the deeper study of the inventors would be a nice resource, but since we are already two issue deep that is perhaps wishful thinking, unless Zondervan can add more content like that to their website for these books which would be nice.

Teamwork, a sense of belonging, personality clashes ­ these are issues that a 10-year old could relate to, as we all could to some extent. Two issues into the series and we get all this and more, but the Christian content is spotty at best. Of course, Avery is most likely working up to something, and we do experience Jewish slave life in their Egyptian captivity period, and one of the incidental characters does mention taking comfort from reading Bible verses, but the reader is given nothing overtly evangelical, which may not be on the menu for this particular ZGN at all(or any, so far the three based on Bible characters are all set in the Old Testament and the three modern books each contain some Christian themes but with very little proselytizing, at least at this point in each series). But in the final reckoning, TimeFlyz is a fun, well-written, nicely illustrated book with the promise of a very entertaining climax.

Review by Steve MacDonald

(Steve wrote a summary review of Time Flyz earlier. Here he expands on this graphic novel from Zondervan.)

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