by John Allison

Reviewer Rating:
3

Review

I'm new to Tackleford, West Yorkshire, England, the story world John Allison fleshed out first with his webcomic Scary Go Round and now with its offshoot, Bad Machinery. The whole premise of "mystery-solving teens" sounded like a fun way to explore the graphic novel genre, which led me to Bad Machinery: The Case of the Team Spirit. Allison is still adding new chapters to Bad Machinery online, and this book contains the first story.

This was a fun book to read: the mystery was pretty low-stakes (it's for younger readers), but I enjoyed just seeing the characters interact. There are six main characters (three girls and three boys) who investigate weird phenomena in Tackleford, and the two groups sort of compete to solve the mysteries that pop up. In The Case of the Team Spirit, the boys try to find out whether the local football club is cursed, and the girls try to stop the new stadium from displacing an elderly woman. Things are definitely not as they seem in Tackleford, and I liked how Allison incorporated supernatural elements into the narrative. Allison's dry sense of humor is pretty great. That being said, I'm not sure that a book format really suits Bad Machinery: the frequent punchlines make it feel very webcomic-y and it can distract from the story at hand.

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