Budding metropolis Structure City was burned to the ground in 1995, killing the entire population, save for 500 people. The survivors knew they must find a new home, leading them to seek shelter underground. Those with traits more conducive to nocturnal life survived and produced offspring. Thus, Basement City—now home to an array of fascinating creatures—was born. Years later, our story begins with the murder of Processor Chip Hoffmazor, the brilliant robot scientist who pioneered Basement City. His sinister-looking colleague, Aiden Flint, has been put in charge of Chip’s Skyliner organization. Enter Dust Bunny, a powerful super sleuth who works for the Basement City Sweep Department alongside his micro-sized partner, Mite.
Chip created Dust Bunny from a tiny speck of dust using electrostatic energy, and he will do whatever it takes to bring Chip’s murderer to justice. Dust Bunny’s investigation brings him into contact with some shady characters, including Rags “The Wringer” Mopastaino, head of the Mop organization. In a world where dirt and grime are the norm, cleaning supplies are considered illegal contraband, and the Mop is at the center of all organized crime. With puns flying off the page, the Mop members—depicted as cleaning products with Brooklyn-Italian accents—haven’t dirtied their hands with crime, they’ve cleaned them instead. Then there’s Potty Mouth, a comedian with a toilet for a face and a routine befitting his name. Dust Bunny uncovers an illegal business operation between the two, and as the deaths begin to pile up, he becomes convinced that Flint is behind it all. There is an underlying question regarding the role of technology in a static society, and while Chip and Flint each believed in progress, they went about it in different ways: Chip sought to use electrostatic energy to create, while Flint harnessed it to destroy.
While the mystery writing is solid, it is graphic novelist Brett Brooks’ world-building and character designs that make Dust Bunny stand out. From the beginning of the story, it is clear that the citizens of Basement City do not want technology in their lives. The opening panels show two friends discussing what a broadcast is through the “gnatwork,” wherein hundreds of gnats memorize messages to be repeated to the proper person. This insight into Basement City helps readers to think of it as a real, organic city, whose inhabitants will draw them in from the very first page and linger in their minds long after they have finished the book.
The story’s target audience seems to be older teens and even adults, but there is nothing in the pages of Dust Bunny that would be inappropriate for younger teens or tweens. Recommend this volume to readers who love detective stories, unique settings, and pun-based humor.
Dust Bunny will be available to order through Amazon.com or directly from Rocket Press Publishing in the next few months. Though it may not receive the same level of publicity as graphic novels from larger presses, Dust Bunny will be right at home in most graphic novel collections and should have no problem finding an audience.
by Brett Brooks
Rocket Press Publishing, 2014