Crater XV by Kevin Cannon Book Review

Crater XV by Kevin Cannon
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Release Date: July 2, 2013

From Goodreads: Straight from the pages of the hit digital series Double Barrel! You've never seen a Cold War like this! In Crater XV, the follow-up to 2009's Eisner-nominated Far Arden, Kevin Cannon weaves together an intoxicating tale of swashbuckling adventure, abandoned moon bases, bloodthirsty walruses, rogue astronauts, two-faced femme fatales, sailboat chases, Siberian pirates, international Arctic politics, and a gaggle of horny orphans. Mixed up in all of this are Army Shanks, our salty sea dog still reeling from a devastating loss, and Wendy Byrd, a plucky teenager who wants nothing more than a one-way ticket off the face of the Earth. For mystery, thrills, and Arctic chills, set a course for Crater XV!

The reason I used a Goodreads summary there was because I was having a very difficult time explaining this one. I both love and hate the graphic novel genre. As someone who really enjoys the visual aspect, I like seeing the characters and the marriage between word and image. However, what sometimes happens when I read a graphic novel is that I spend a good deal of the book confused, feeling like frames and pages are missing, and wondering who the audience is. Crater XV is a rather thick graphic novel that takes about a third of the book to really begin making sense. 

In the beginning the reader is just thrown into the story with no explanation of who this Army Shanks character is or why he is headed to Antarctica to retire. I am assuming this made no sense because I have not been following the digital series nor did I read Far Arden. Not knowing that this was a sequel I was obviously a little lost and felt very detached from the characters. Wendy Byrd, our plucky teen heroine, who I assume wasn't in the first book definitely feels like the more vibrant character in this story. 

Once the story really got going though I was completely engrossed by this space race espionage action adventure story with pirates, orphans, and betrayal. Although a bit bizarre at times, the story engaging and I was definitely rooting for Wendy. I'm still unsure as to who the target audience is, but obviously it has its fans so I don't know if that really matters.