If you are a twelve year old boy, do I have a treat for you! The Zodiac Legacy is a new “comic” book series featuring an evil doer who wishes to control the creatures of the Zodiac so he can take over the world.
In Convergence (Zodiac #1) by Stan Lee and Stuart Moore, the villain is power-hungry, billionaire Maxwell, who uses his authority and the talent of geek, Carlos, to incorporate six of the twelve Zodiac signs into his body, not counting his own sign of The Dragon. Due to an interruption in the process, the remaining energy of the Zodiac is accidentally released where it unwittingly enters the hosts of unsuspecting people throughout the world. Through his organization, The Vanguard, Maxwell sends his minions to capture the “lucky” individuals who have become unwilling recipients of the five remaining signs. Jasmine, who shares The Dragon sign with Maxwell, thwarts his attempts by recruiting the “newbies” and bringing them to a training center in Greenland. Jasmine needs help in order to stop Maxwell from implementing his evil plans, partially in revenge of her parents’ murder. Maxwell, on the other hand, is determined to syphon off all of Jasmine’s Dragon power to make himself the most powerful being in the Zodiac.
Jasmine’s team include neophyte trainees:
Steven Lee — a Chinese American teen on a class trip to China who inadvertently witnesses Maxwell’s insanity and somehow receives the power of The Tiger at the same moment his Grandfather dies.
Roxanne – a French Rock star who channels her powers of The Rooster through her music.
Liam – an Irish pub fighter who relishes the added strength from the Zodiac as The Ram.
Duane – an electronics whizz who can use his power of The Pig to control electrical output.
Kim – a young girl from a broken down town in the Midwest who can teleport with her powers as The Rabbit.
The experienced Vanguard team includes Josie – The Horse, Malik – The Ox, Vincent – The Monkey, Nicky – The Dog, and the Black Ops Team of Celine – The Snake and Thiago – The Rat.
This book is fast paced and action packed, transitioning from one battle to the next as Vanguard goes on the offensive to herd in Jasmine and her followers. I haven’t seen all the graphics as the book I have is an ARC, but the pictures, drawn by Andie Tong, are phenomenal. I wouldn’t call this a graphic novel in the true sense, although it does have numerous illustrations, usually at the beginning or the end of a chapter (hopefully the final version will have even more). There is definitely more story than art work. In fact, it is a rather long book (about 500 pages), the first of a Trilogy. Just don’t question the plot too much, as the young zodiac recipients all seem to have few ties, beyond sentimental ones, to their former homes. This feature is a fortunate one, since their lives will be taking a different path where destiny will decide their fate, “the destiny determined by the Zodiac”.
Please note that comic icon Stan Lee has been a part of the writing process of Convergence, and the Zodiac series is published by Disney, indicating to me that we will be seeing a digital version of the story on film or television. Even though 93-year-old Stan Lee has created numerous Super Heroes over the years, this is his first time actually writing a book. The plot is designed to show movement, although almost half the book consists of background which has a tendency to drag. However, once the action starts, it doesn’t let up and there are several surprises in the last few chapters which will make a perfect segway into the next book in the series. The characters reflect various races and nationalities, with fourteen-year-old Steven Lee, the hero, being biracial. This book is perfect for feeding the fantasies of middle schoolers and those adults who have never outgrown the Super Hero Genre.
For me, this book is not a part of my normal reading choices, although I am glad that Netgalley and Disney allowed me to download a copy in exchange for an honest review. It seemed a little long for a YA book, even though the style was simplistic. However, there is a lot of potential for a Saturday morning cartoon adventure. Three and a half stars (mainly for the basic premise and the art work).