Times are tough in the once thriving coastal fishing village of Port Angus, where the fish supply has suddenly dried up. Enter Dalen and Gole, a pair of adventure-seeking young aliens from the planet Budap, who stumble upon the answer to this mystery much like they stumble upon the town itself: by accident.
Dalen & Gole: Scandal in Port Angus is the debut instalment of Victoria artist Mike Deas’s first comic book series as both author and illustrator. The story starts with an annual Junior Jet-Race Competition on Budap (reminiscent of the Star Wars pod races), in which Deas uses actions and facial expressions to quickly and effectively establish who the heroes and villains are. After losing to a shady character named Tunax under suspicious circumstances, the friends investigate his jet-racer garage and discover a tunnel to Earth. Arriving in Port Angus, Dalen and Gole fall directly into the path of danger, which they never fully manage to evade, despite running, ducking, and hiding.
A fast-paced, fairly fun romp about strangers in a strange land, this graphic novel is clearly stonger in art than story. Budap’s residents resemble human-toad hybrids with snail-like eyes. Visually, they are immediately endearing, as they should be in a tween-targeted book.
Deas’s writing, however, would have benefited from more clarity. One of the heroes is blindly optimistic and the other overly pragmatic, but as these are their only defining characteristics, it’s often hard to tell them apart.
Still, Scandal in Port Angus is an entertaining and charming book. A supporting website, www.dalenandgole.com, featuring games, activities, and a Web comic, should enhance the reader’s overall experience.