When a new land is created, so are new creatures and new adventures. In the new graphic novel Capture Creatures, created by Frank Gibson and Becky Dreistadt, creatures who possess extraordinary abilities are discovered on a distant island by a group of explorers. With charming characters and detailed landscapes, young readers are taken into this new world of adventure and exploration.
Tamzen is a rambunctious teen girl who lives with her father, Professor Buttercup, at his laboratory on the Pacific Coast. While he is working on the reclamation project and building up new land for various species to repopulate, Tamzen explores that land with her father’s young intern Jory while Ranger Teddy tries to keep them away from danger. During their exploration they discover a red panda who can create fire from the top of his head, which Tamzen names Bon Bon. The crew soon learns that Bon Bon is from an island off the coast. On their way there they become stranded in a dense jungle with a menagerie of creatures, each with its own special powers. They decide to explore the island and look for a way out, but they soon discover that these new creatures are in danger from a mysterious group that is catching them for reasons they do not know.
On first glance, Capture Creatures appears to be a rip-off of Pokemon, but, like the old phrase states, don’t judge a book by its cover. There are similarities; each creature has its own unique ability, such as fire-breathing, camouflage, or lightning strikes. However, this graphic novel offers an action packed original story with a diverse cast of characters (and it’s not just the creatures). The central group of heroes, Tamzen, Jory, and Ranger Teddy, are different from one another, and they each use their skills to assist in any situation, whether it be Jory’s knowledge of the new island’s terrain or Teddy’s hilarious attempt to lead them all to safety. According to the story, each creature has evolved into something new, but the reason behind this evolution has to wait for future volumes.
The graphic novel’s artwork features a bright and colorful palette and detailed landscapes. The main characters explore caves, jungles, sea shores, and the ocean, and each scene uses appropriate color schemes depending upon the time of day or their location. An exciting journey through a cave changes from dark colors to a pinkish hue when crystals are discovered within. Moments of exaggerated emotions from most of the characters create humor or excitement within the story. Overall, the artwork looks similar to children’s anime or manga—each character has a distinct appearance and expressive personality, and action scenes fly by from one panel to the next.
Capture Creatures is a must have for any children’s library, especially where manga and anime are very popular. With an adventurous storyline, unique creatures, and colorful artwork, readers in grades 2nd-5th will want to read it over and over again. Fans of Pokemon and Yo-Kai Watch will be interested in this tale as well, and may ask you for more.
Capture Creatures, vol. 1
by Frank Gibson
Art by Becky Dreistadt
Boom! Studios, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: 7-11