“What about Brady, Eva? Are we just going to wait for Cole?”
“I don’t know.”
“How long does it take for him to...you know…”
“I don’t know.”
“We’ll go back for Brady, I promise.”
“You can’t save him if you’re just fucking sitting there.”
“He’s right you know. I can’t.”
“Who knows what they’re doing to him. I—“
“You want a pill?”
“You’re right, D. I’ve got to go for Brady now.”
“We never should’ve left Mihko.”
“I needed to make sure Cole was safe before…”
“Before Brady was.”
“You have to look after him while I’m gone.”
The action of this graphic novel picks up immediately after Breakdown, the first volume in the “Reckoner Rises” series. Cole and Eva confronted Mihko Labs head on, and the battle left Cole close to death. Once Eva gets Cole out of danger, she continues on her own. Brady is missing, and Eva has found a secret laboratory where hideous Mihko experiments are taking place. There is no time to lose!
The same Indigenous superheroes are in this continuation of the “Reckoner Rises” saga. In the first book, Cole dealt with the mental trauma of what has happened to him, and, in the beginning of this book, he must deal with physical trauma and injury. This inability to take control and act makes Cole feel guilty, particularly as Brady is missing. Once again, Eva fills the gap and takes on the adventure by herself. She is a strong and confident female role model who doesn’t hesitate to act.
Version Control continues the high tension and suspense found in a typical graphic novel filled with action and excitement. The illustrations help readers understand the characters’ feelings and reactions as well as filling in the information about the various settings used.
Robertson is an award-winning Cree author who presents his young adult readers with a novel which defies classification. There are elements of fantasy and superheroes as well as a great deal of adventure, with themes of horror mixed in. Within all of this, Robertson portrays young indigenous heroes whose bond of friendship is strong, motivating them to carry on their continued battle against the evil Mihko Laboratories.
Once again, the illustrations of award-winning Scott B. Henderson and the colouring of Donovan Yaciuk bring the story and its characters and settings to life. The success of any graphic novel depends on artists like these.
Robertson leaves his readers on a cliff edge at the end of Version Control, with yet another experiment by Mihko scientists ready to begin. What will it be, and whom will they attack? Stay tuned for volume three of the series!
Ann Ketcheson, a retired teacher-librarian and high school teacher of English and French, lives in Ottawa. Ontario.