I first saw this book at ALA in Washington DC. You’ve got to give it to the publisher who puts “Not for Wimpy Kids” directly on the cover. Not only will it attract the inevitable push backers for that phenomenon, it will likely peak the interest of Kinney’s faithful readers to find out what the heck that means!
Vordak the Incomprensible is a Super Villain who has decided to share the wealth with the rest of us mortals (“As Seen on TV" style), by giving readers, through the scribing of his minion Scott Seegert, a step-by-step guide towards world domination! For a guy who hasn’t actually defeated his own arch-nemesis (the superhero Commander Virtue), he has an awful lot of bravado as is evident in the prologue simply entitled “Glorious Me”.
Beginning with the idea of “Bringing out the EVIL”, to an absolutely hilarious acrostic definition of superhero (Stupid, Underwear munching, Pig kissing…), to amazing plans for “Diabolically Clever Yet Extremely Slow-Acting Death Traps”, Vordak will have readers laughing out loud. Every action movie/mystery cartoon stereotype gets the send up, and the delivery is spot on.
The visual appeal of this title cannot be easily matched. John Martin’s illustrations run the gambit from yearbook photos with barred out eyes to files on heroes and villains; from advertisements to quizzes. The text to illustration ratio is seemingly perfect, and will keep reluctant readers interested, and voracious ones zipping along.
While the cover does look young, and the age rating is the ever-popular 8 and up, I’d say that the perfect range for this one is 4th-7h grade. There is a media savvy that the reader needs to have to truly appreciate the Tick like humor in the pages. I have a feeling that the Punisher-esque pronged out logo will be gracing the margins of some notebooks in the days to come.