Super Spy

by Matt Kindt

Publisher: Top Shelf Productions

Format: Softcover, 6x9, full color, $19.95

ISBN: 9781891830969

Reviewed by: School Library Journal


Dark sitting rooms, bleak urban settings, cobblestone streets, and train rides through a desolate countryside are the illustrative details that Kindt winningly uses to accentuate these 37 noirlike World War II spy stories. Resigned loneliness, unrequited love, self-sacrifice, flashbacks to childhood memories, and loss and betrayal humanize the otherwise ruthless agents as they murder, double-cross, and sabotage their way across Europe while carrying out their missions in the name of patriotic duty. Kindt uses ink washes in grays and sepia tones and solid black shadowing to emphasize the dark, moody circumstances and ever-lurking dangers. The stained and yellowed pages are an effective design element, adding to a pulpy, newsprint effect. Kindt’s choice of a nonlinear chapter format may confuse some teens as it muddles the story line, leaving readers to wonder if the stories are actually chapters of a novel or meant to stand alone. Adding to the confusion is his sketchbooklike drawing style; with their simple facial features, the characters tend to resemble one another. Yet those with a penchant for hard-boiled Chandler-esque superspies, tough femme fatales, double agents and double-crossers, secret codes, and messages hidden in body cavities, combined with clever graphic elements and product design, will enjoy this worthy effort. –Jodi Mitchell, Berkeley Public Library, CA