As I was reading this, I kept thinking it sounded very much like the script for a kids’ game online. Some quick Googling and I realized that’s exactly what it is. JumpStart is an “adventure based learning game for kids.” It appears to be affiliated with Dreamworks since a lot of the games connect with the Madagascar movies. This particular comic, Windy Hollows, is based on an area in the gameworld by the same name. It includes a magic school a bit like Hogwarts, complete with tests and games.
In the comic, there are five characters. Logan, future sports star; Nicolas, the science expert; Maggie, video gamer; Selena, fashion princess; and her naughty younger brother, Poe. They are selected to train at the Oakcrest Academy of Magic. However, when they arrive, there’s no teacher to be seen, only some boring assignments. The kids decide to skip the manuals and instructions and get right to the magic, but, of course, confusion and chaos ensue and Poe gets affected by a random spell. The kids set off on a quest to get Poe back to normal, learning lessons in teamwork and making decisions along the way. The final pages include blank bubbles and stickers, so kids can make their own story.
The art is bright and cheerful with a slick digital finish. Each character has different coloring and style and it’s easy to follow the story. There are little glimpses of the game world in the panels, from a medieval-style village to a pond with multi-colored frogs. The art is professional, but not particularly distinctive.
This is a cute story, but there’s no real substance to it. The characters are one-dimensional and the art, while colorful, looks like concept stills from a movie or game. There’s no movement or life in the characters and their surroundings. The dialogue is simple and would be easy for a beginning reader to navigate, but it’s also stilted and the story overall is bland. If you have fans of this game world this comic would be a possible additional purchase, but it doesn’t stand well on its own as a story.
Jumpstart Windy Hollows
by Neo Edmund, Adira Edmund
Silver Dragon Books, 2012