In the recent hubbub over the rebooted DC titles, much has been made over the lack of and/or portrayal of female characters and their appropriateness for young readers. What perfect timing then for this little gem, a new creator-owned collaboration from longtime partners-in-crime Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming of Powers fame. If I were Marvel, I would be promoting the heck out of this book right now, which came out quietly last March. Unfortunately, the lack of fanfare suggests this title is getting missed by a lot of people. That’s too bad because it’s a great read.
After being exposed to some kind of weird radiation during an explosion at their friend Kelly Sue’s house (Kelly Sue’s dad is something of a mad scientist), two adopted sisters — thirteen-year-old Taki and seven year-old Olivia — develop incredible powers. While learning to use their new powers of flight and “Kung Fu telekinesis,” they come to the inexorable conclusion that they must become superheroes (“If you can stop a bullet, you have to be a superhero. It’s, like, the law,” reasons Olivia). Olivia makes them costumes, dubs them Takio (a portmanteau of their names), and they’re ready. But Kelly Sue’s dad wants the sisters for his own reasons, and has the goons to see that he gets them. And what happened to Kelly Sue in the accident?
Olivia is the kind of character young will love. Like Molly from Runaways or Bubbles from Powerpuff Girls, her innocent observations and infectious enthusiasm provide a steady flow of humor. Taki is a bit older and, being adopted, she is worried about maintaining familial stability and seeing that Olivia stays out of trouble while their mother recovers from the death of their father. She provides a bit of grounding, and gives the story its moral core.
Really, the whole story is pretty slight, but Bendis’ believable characters and well-observed dialogue elevates it to something special. Similarly, Oeming’s art is kinetic and colorful, but always clear. This is a terrific all-ages book, and I just worry that the #1 stamped on its side will prove to be hollow optimism. Takio deserves to be a hit, both so that other publishers will follow suit with more fun all-ages fare, and so that we readers can find out what happens next to these plucky young crime-fighters.