Okay, I bought this book not just because it was about a boy who is suddenly forced into becoming his world's superhero (I mean, let's face it - what child has never had that dream before?), but also because mixed in with the prose text of the novel are pages of graphic novel story-telling - thus, combining my two favorite pleasure - prose novels and comics! So, how could I pass this up?
The book is definitely written for young readers. Although the inside dust jacket advertises the book for Ages 9 - 12, I'd say it is more on part with ages 8 - 10. Nevertheless, it was a fun story about a young boy (Miles Taylor, if you didn't figure that out by the title) who witnesses his world's greatest (and only!) superhero killed - but not before the cape that gives him his superpowers is passed on to Miles. Robert Venditti, who has experience with comic writing (Flash and Green Lantern for DC Comics), captures fairly well the struggles of a 12-year old who suddenly has the ability to fly, run fast, pick up tanks with ease, and not get hurt too easily but cannot use any of those powers in his daily life. A friend who also read the book said he found the middle school bullying to be a bit trite, but I thought it played nicely with Miles coming to terms with his new role as a hero while keeping that identity a secret from all those around him. For me, the characterization was done well, with characters not being overly-stereotypical and different enough to give each their own clear identity.
The pages of art, drawn by Dusty Higgins (who I had never heard of before this book) did a great job with the black & white pages of graphic storytelling. The style definitely fits for the story being told, and his ability to portray expressions is spot-on (check out the pages of art in Chapter 18 to see what I mean).
Is this a classic? No, not by any means. Is it intellectual reading? Of course, not. But is it fun? Yes, definitely. If you love superheroes and you enjoy reading a young-readers' book once in a while, then I'd suggest picking this up. And since it is numbered one, I am supposing that means that this will be a series (although I haven't seen any number two solicited yet).
RATING: 7 out of 10 capes for fun superheroic action!