Whiz Bang and Amelia the Adventure Bear: The Jade Dragon Review

Writer: Forrest Helvie
Artist: Michelle Lodge
Letterer: Adam Wollett

A Review by Greg Brothers

Let’s be honest for a minute. Hundreds of comics and books come out every month, and thousands during the duration of a year. Many of those books and comics get a ton of publicity and have decent sales despite being horrible. Then you have the labors of love that are self-published and don’t get the hype but are good stories. So where does Whiz Bang and Amelia the Adventure Bear: The Jade Dragon fall? Well let’s find out.

We immediately see Whiz Bang and Amelia in their karate class with the rest of the troll-like students. After Whiz Bang falls and accidently knocks into Amelia, who becomes upset, the teacher brings the class together. After the quick tale on how to harness their frustration, the two come together to help each other reach their goals. Obviously, there is lots more to the story, but I’ll let you read it for yourself.

Forrest Helvie’s writing and dialogue is appropriate for what you would expect for an all ages book. The words are simple but not so simple as to not push a child with advancing their vocabulary. While an adult may expect to find a book that fills in many of the panels and pages with extended dialogue, Helvie shows he knows his audience. Whiz Bang and Amelia the Adventure Bear: The Jade Dragon jumps from one action panel to another. The lack of dialogue at times does not hurt the book at all; these panels instead feature dynamic art. The use of the art in place of the dialogue also allows for interpreting the story in the reader’s own way.

Beyond everything else the story has a good moral to it that can teach valuable lessons on friendship and patience that any child should learn.

Michelle Lodge’s art is bright and simple, without being simplistic. The characters show an extensive range of emotions that act as visual clues. The lines are sharper and clean with the type of cartoonish details that you would find in the best of animated shows.

Buy It! 
Whiz Bang and Amelia the Adventure Bear: The Jade Statue is obviously geared towards younger readers. The story is interesting enough that adults teaching a love for reading could read the book without becoming bored with it. As the child develops reading and comprehension skills, they would be able to read the book on their own and still be enriched by the lessons embedded within it. Helvie is obviously aware of this as he has created a teaching guide to go with the book. If you are a parent, add this book to the reading rotation, both you and your child will find the book enjoyable.

Gregory Brothers
Ohio born and raised. Avid comicbook fan who is always trying to find time to get through my ever growing read pile. When not working on that I Teach, coach youth sports, and cheer on my hometown Cincinnati teams, and Buckeyes. Can also be heard talking comics and pop-culture on The Comics Agenda Podcast.

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