Cleopatra in Space, Book 1: Target Practice

A teenage version of the Egyptian queen has a star-spanning adventure.

Cleopatra in Space, Book 1: Target Practice, by Mike Maihack, Scholastic, Inc., 176 pp.

Fifteen-year-old Cleopatra, destined to rule ancient Egypt, is whisked far, far into the future where she finds out that she's also destined to save the Nile Galaxy from the evil Xaius Octavian. That's the premise of Cleopatra in Space, a new graphic novel series by writer/artist Mike Maihack for Scholastic's Graphix line.

Cleo (as she likes to be called) is greeted by a talking cat, Khensu, and joins  P.Y.R.A.M.I.D. but (much to her chagrin) still has to deal with homework as she attends Yasiro Academy. There she meets her fellow students, a menagerie of creatures all shapes and sizes. Her new friends, roommate Akila and Brian, help her acclimate to her new surroundings and try to keep her focused on her school work. While Cleo struggles with her studies she excels at ray-gun practice and combat training. Which is a good thing too as those skills are needed as she embarks on her first field test. 

It's refreshing to see a strong, spunky female main comic character that will appeal to both girls and boys. And even though she's an Egyptian princess in a far-off future, Cleo is still just a kid struggling with school work and trying to fit in.

Maihack is a skilled artist breathing a vibrant life into his characters, human, alien, and cat. He gives them distinct characteristics that shine through whether they are going to class or outrunning an army of aliens. The futuristic environment Maihack has created is bright and colorful with lots of cool Egyptian motifs mixed in, such as pyramid-shaped buildings, a sphinx-like flying bike, and even mummy robots. His writing is engaging as well, and all his characters have a distinct, unique voice whether the scene is humorous, exciting, or heartwarming.

"Cleopatra in Space" will be great summer reading for ages 8 and up.

So where's our galaxy galloping gal off to next? I can't wait to find out!

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