#Review: Smash, by Chris A. Bolton

Title – Smash: Trial by Fire
Author – Chris A. Bolton
Artist – Kyle Bolton
Rating – 4/5 stars

Whap! Thud! Crash! An action-packed graphic novel simultaneously spoofs and pays tribute to superhero lore while inspiring a new generation of crimefighters.

Ka-boom! Clobbered by fallout from a blast that kills the local superhero, Defender, Andrew Ryan suddenly has super strength and speed! And he can fly! Now it’s up to him to protect citizens from thieves, thugs, and fearsome villains. He dons a homemade costume to hide his true identity, and Smash is born! But fighting crime isn’t easy, especially when you’re in fifth grade. On top of evil robots and trigger-happy bank robbers, there’s homework, curfew, and the school bully to deal with. Not to mention the Magus, a fearsome villain who will stop at nothing to steal Smash’s superpowers for himself! Influenced by film, cartoons, and of course, classic comic books, this vivid escapade features a rib-tickling, high-energy storyline and the colorful, exaggerated figures of nostalgic comic-book art: a combo perfect for kids longing for a secret identity of their own.” (description from Goodreads)


I don’t read many graphic novels, but I’m happen I took the chance with this one.

I enjoyed the concept of having a ten year old character become a superhero. Most of the heroes of our modern mythology are in their late teens, at the youngest, and while that always brings with it real-life issues to go along with those of being a superhero, I think a ten year old can bring a fresh batch of obstacles to the mix. Andrew/Smash has to deal with a school bully, his older brother (also a, more mild, bully…like all brothers tend to be), and all the other “problems” of being young and not really fitting in. How can a kid that young juggle his normal life with his new superpowers? Well, this is something I hope future Smash books will explore.

In this first installment of the series, I felt that it was a strong début for the character and story. It’s a great origin story for Smash, with hints at many different sub-plots I can’t wait to see explored as well. I also liked the villain, Magnus. I see him as a strong and powerful foe. There wont’ be any easy battles for our young hero.

I think this, overall, is a great story with great artwork and while I feel it’s aimed at a younger audience (especially with today’s push toward educating kids about bullying), more seasoned superhero fans should enjoy this little guy. I’m looking forward to future Smash books.


You can grab a copy of this graphic novel from:

Amazon | B&N


About the Author:

Chris A. Bolton has written comics, short stories, stage plays, sketch comedy, and screenplays. He wrote and directed several short films and an acclaimed web series called “Wage Slaves,” and recently completed his first novel. His first published book is the all-ages graphic novel SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE (Candlewick Press, 2013), illustrated by his brother, Kyle. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he still dreams of acquiring superpowers.

About the Artist:

Kyle Bolton has been drawing since the age of four, although SMASH is his first professional comic work. A graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle, he has worked for a variety of game companies creating 2D and 3D animations. Kyle Bolton currently draws and lives in Seattle, Washington.

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