Zoey Zeta and the Sisters of Power, Book 1: Family Secrets
written by Robert Simon
illustrated by Tomomi Sarafov
Zoey Zeta and her little sisters Ella and Lexi have a big secret—they all three have superpowers! Zoey is a super-genius, Ella is indestructible, and Lexi has sonic speed. Mostly they just use their powers to themselves, using them just to keep out of trouble. But when the evil Dr. Impossible takes control of all of summer, the Zeta sisters must do something to keep the children of Century City from being bored and driving their parents insane. And so a supergroup is born!
Simon, the father of three girls, started Zeta Comics to “address the lack of science fiction for girls” and he succeeds admirably. Without talking down or being either overly cutesy or overly “safe,” he crafts a story that can be enjoyed by both parents and their young comic fans. Simon uses all the elements of superhero stories—the villain, the origin story, the selection of costumes and superhero names, the first battle—but tweaks them in just the right way to make them very funny. Parents will laugh at the reactions of the adults in the story as they freak out when Dr. Impossible takes control of summer camps. “Parents are cautioned not to weep openly or uncontrollably in front of their children.” Kids, especially those with siblings, will appreciate the sisters’ interactions with each other.
Sarafov’s art reflects her Japanese background, as Family Secrets definitely feels manga-like. But what is nice is that Sarafov is obviously well-trained and has plenty of experience. She’s comfortable with perspective, proportions, facial expressions, panel layout, and comedic timing. Her art is cartoonish and simple in all the very best ways. Family Secrets is presented in full color and Sarafov has chosen a color palette that is bright, but not garish, perfect for a superhero comedy. Though Simon and Sarafov’s book is short, with 12 of the 50 pages devoted to concept art, the story doesn’t feel rushed or incomplete. Readers both young and old will enjoy this one and will be eager for the next adventure of Zoey Zeta and the Sisters of Power!-- Snow Wildsmith