By: Mathieu Mariolle
Illustrared by: Minikim
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010
Nola York-Stein was buried under her covers determined to be late for school again. Nothing new there. She lived an utterly boring life in a small harbor town, Alta Donna. According to her best friend, Pumpkin, she tended to cultivate “this weird little antisocial attitude” that made them an “easy target for jokes.” Helena, her Mums, was always trying to be her best friend, but she was rarely around except when they shared a couple of pieces of toast every morning. She was simply a big businesswoman with the “maturity of a 14-year-old.” And Mums was still nuts about her ex, Nola’s father, even though they’d divorced years ago. Such was life, but soon something would happen that would make Nola much more enthused about it.
Her algebra teacher, who was nothing more than a “30-year-old neurotic,” was trying to get the new boy, Damiano to answer a question (better you than me). A couple of hand signs later and he had the answer . . . from Nola. It wasn’t long before she spotted his sister, Inés, who lived on the first floor of their complex, while he lived on the fifth. What on earth were they hiding? Next thing you know, the librarian was practically out cold on the floor muttering something like, “A giant mouse . . . the passage . . . three little cats.” Nola was going to have to mount a “meticulous investigation” to figure out just why two weird things could happen in one day.
Naturally Damiano caught her spying as she crouched behind a few potted shrubs. After he asked, “Are you a bumbling PI, or are you hunting for aphids on that plant for lunch?” she decided ‘discreet’ was in. She allowed him to walk her home and actually went shopping with his shopaholic sister. Things were starting to get really weird when Damiano, who didn’t even know what baseball was, started hitting the ball like Babe Ruth and could field like a pro. Between Damiano’s increasingly odd behavior, Inés’s overly exuberant behavior, and the space aliens that were starting to show up around town she had her work cut out for her. Agent Nola Stein, PI, had her binoculars (courtesy of dear old dad) and was ready to work. Perhaps the Alta Donna Psychiatric Institute had a few answers...
This is a very interesting start to a series *starring* Nola, a regular old latchkey kid from boring Alta Donna. If anyone is into anime/manga and the graphic novel, they will find this mini mystery to be quite fascinating. I liked the light mystery aspect of the novel and found myself totally immersed in the life of Nola, the daydreaming wanna be PI. The artwork was mangamongously appealing and some of the full page panels were quite stunning. “Nola’s Worlds” is not a high action, superhero graphic novel series, but is rather one that has a charming, quirky, mysterious storyline that many are really going to enjoy.
Quill says: This is the first in a series of three “Nola’s Worlds,” a series you just are going to have to sample to totally appreciate!