At Vulcan’s Celestial Supply Shop, gods, heroes, and monsters can find the tools they need to accomplish their goals. Nico Bravo and his coworkers—a sphinx named Lula and a unicorn named Buck—help their boss, Vulcan, by running the main store while Vulcan creates weapons and goods. Eowulf, descendant of Beowulf, comes to prepare for a quest to slay Cerberus and Nico goes on an adventure of his own in order to stop the wannabe slayer from unleashing the zombie apocalypse!

Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades is a delightful fantasy comic and it has a lot going for it. For one thing, Nico and Eowulf are great characters: Nico is a charming mix of responsible and goofy, while Eowufl’s orneriness and enthusiasm lead her to clash with Nico, who understands the consequences of slaying Cerberus. Their conflict leads to a great adventure complete with hijinks; the story gets even more entertaining when you add things like squabbling gods, a sarcastic sword, and a sullen, paranoid survivor of the unicorn wars. While the narrative focuses on Nico and Eowulf, Cavallaro incorporates a few fun side plots that add humor and intrigue. A few well-placed new details about Nico’s backstory generate further interest, and, while the main story wraps up in a satisfactory way, there is plenty of room for further adventures.

Cavallaro’s illustrations portray vivid details that pull the reader into a world where cast members from a variety of pantheons mingle. Cavallaro brings Eowulf and Nico’s adventures to life with straightforward action and dialogue. Cavallaro also injects humor by portraying the gods and goddesses from various mythologies in frequently amusing ways; for example, Zeus is portrayed with a brightly-colored, poofy hairstyle. For mythological characters who might be unfamiliar to readers, there is a Vulcan trading card in the panel that helpfully explains the character.

With its vivid art and fun story, Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades should be a solid addition to public library collections. Readers who like fractured fairy tales or mythological retelling should enjoy this fun and humorous fantasy adventure. Although some well-versed mythology fans will realize the myths and characters referenced have darker overtones, most things are kept fairly light for story purposes. Therefore, First Second’s age recommendation of eight to eleven is appropriate.

Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades
By Mike Cavallaro
ISBN: 9781626727519
First Second, 2019
Publisher Age Rating: 8-11

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Related to…: Inspired by myth

  • Megan

    | She/Her

    Features Writer

    Megan earned her MLIS from Simmons College and is currently the evening librarian at Bay State College in Massachusetts. She satisfies her voracious appetite for graphic novels and manga through regular visits to her local public libraries and puts her love of graphic novels to good use by adding to Bay State’s collection whenever possible. Megan maintains a personal blog, Ferret with a Strobe Light, where she discusses awesome books she’s read lately. When not engaged in reading or library work, she likes running, drinking tea, and working on her own stories and art.

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