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Suspended Animation:

Did you ever daydream when you were 13 years old? If you’re from the planet Earth, then the answer is, undoubtedly, yes.

All of us, at some time in early adolescence, entertained highly-dramatized fantasies in the classroom, at night before drifting off to sleep, or wherever else our bored, non-occupied imagination took us. For boys, the subject was probably amazing acts of daring-do. For girls, no doubt romance played a part. But, chances are, those daydreams remained just that. Which is why Zondervan’s Tomo is attractive to me, even as an adult.

Tomo tells the story of a 13-year-old Japanese immigrant who comes to America to live with her grandfather, and gets involved in an extra-dimensional struggle for a sword of great power. As if adapting to life in the U.S. of A. weren’t difficult enough, she has to deal with literal dog-men hopping through a dimensional gateway to do her ill, her constant karate training (grandpa is also her sensei), and the mystery of her grandfather’s pet..., friend..., or, whatever the furry “Tomo” happens to be. Methinks there’s quite the mystery there.

The first volume of Tomo boasts the title “I Was an Eighth-Grade Ninja,” and it’s credited to writers Andrew Simmons and Rob Corley, and artist Ariel Padilla. Simmons and Corley craft a wish-fulfillment type of story that, besides being perfectly suited for the youngsters, could also be a guilty pleasure for adults. Padilla’s art has a light-hearted flair for action and drama, while, not surprisingly, having a strong Manga influence.

Everything comes together to form, not a classic work of sequential entertainment, but certainly an enjoyable escape into action, adventure, and even some morality lessons. No doubt, none of us ever truly outgrows the need for those.

Tomo is recommended. Four volumes are available, with four more to come. Fans of Marvel Comics’ X trilogy and DC’s Justice take note: Jim Krueger is the writer of volume two, “My Double-Edged Life”.

Mark Allen

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