Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: June 20, 2012
Creator: Mark Fearing
Format: 248 pgs.; Full-Color; Trade Paperback
Age Rating: All-Ages
ICv2 Rating: 2 Stars out of 5
Like any other nine-year old Bud faces all of the normal anxieties you’d expect when faced with starting at a new school, but when he accidentally gets on the wrong bus he finds himself in deep space attending Cosmos Academy. While desperately searching for a way home he makes some friends, takes some strange classes and tries to stay underneath the radar of the human hating Principal Lepto.
Bud manages to hide in plain sight by posing as a Tenarian exchange student but discovers all Tenarians are automatically assumed to be expert as the sport Zero Ball, so as to not let down all his new friends he has to find a way make the school team. And, coincidentally enough, his one big chance to get home coincides with the Junior Zero Ball Championship.
Really good kids comics usually are expected to work on two levels, for adults as well as its intended audience, but Earthling! is strictly for kids. Most likely adults will find it simple, formulaic stuff and see both its plot ‘twists’ and rather limp jokes coming a mile away. The situations and characters are strictly stock and the art (which would look right at home on a 90’s Nickelodeon cartoon) is rough and slightly awkward. But none of that should matter for kids, who’ll find the setting cool and should certainly appreciate all of the hurdles Bud has to go through to make friends and stay out of trouble.
--Steve Bennett: Writer and retail services consultant.