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There isn’t a lull in The Sequels. It’s one exciting and intriguing moment to the next with this series. The third offering, Van Helsing High School opens with Russ, in stylized retro remembrance, recalling the events from High School that set him apart, and ultimately landed him a position with our heroic four. Then, as sharply as the art style flicks back to a chic, dark tone, the plot reminds the reader that the four were in a very bad place, in a very bad way with Gwen’s thread.
Amid heartbreak, despair, and betrayal, the hero of Van Helsing High rises to the occasion. But how high can a hero rise if the celling was placed for him? The fascinating moral conundrum plays wonderfully between the lines of true peril and dread.
Through Russ’s path, as have been with the others along the journey, we are transported to an amazing setting. Each of the places in which these interwoven dimension hopping adventures take place merit their own series through their vivid and incredible appearances. Having to settle with the momentary visitations is difficult, but understandable. The pacing is exactly as it should be and lingering (although I wholly wish I could while reading) would badly deny the expertly set pulse of the adventures.
We’re introduced to my personal series favorite, Dr. Frankenstein, and Russ’s backstory is laid staggeringly bare. Without giving away too much, I have to admit that the act of the shining high school hero puffing himself up beyond his own accomplishments coming to task is so, so, so, so, so, very, very, extraordinarily satisfying. Sure, Russ is part of the team of four hero squad, but I always had a “ew, shut up” reaction to his input. A true testament to the skill of storytelling: I still wanted the jerk to succeed. Also, a testament that ‘goth-girls’ from high school will always harbor unrealistic dislike of ‘shining high school heroes’ in any context, but that’s a whole other thing and something I should probably address with my therapist, sometime.
All that said, the third in The Sequels series is a non-stop flood of plot, interest, and adventure. If you haven’t started this series, I can’t express how much you ought to. I haven’t found a moment to dislike or sigh over; the stories that feed the roots of the main vein are outstanding. The way in which recollection is portrayed is inspired. The diversity of the group (including Mr-Shining-High-School-Hero-Russ) is such that you can find relatability and instant empathetic investment from the first page on. And robots! And aliens! And monsters! And a cursed stone gift! What’s NOT to like?!
The Sequels #3: Van Helsing High School is published by Fanbase Press. Created and written by Norm Harper. Illustrated and colored by Val Halvorson and Bobby Timony. Lettered by Oceano Ransford. Cover Art by Don Aguillo.
Buy The Sequels here