Bad Machinery Volume 6: The Case of the Unwelcome Visitor

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9781620103517: Bad Machinery Volume 6: The Case of the Unwelcome Visitor

School is out for summer, and for the Tackleford mystery team, that means lazy days, balmy evenings, and... creeping existential dread that threatens the whole city. With half the team gallivanting off to exotic locales (like Aunty Kath's in Margate), can Linton, Jack, and Lottie solve this season's most dire case?

The Case of the Unwelcome Visitor, the sixth book in John Allison's award-winning Bad Machinery series, pits our young heroes against the terrors of the unfamiliar and unknown. Lottie's mum and sister have both fallen in love (thanks to the internet), Linton is determined to save his father from the soul-sucking responsibility of a promotion, and why is Jack working at the local paper with team nemesis (and hot-shot reporter) Erin Winters? Isn't print meant to be dead?

Could the link between these tangled threads be The Night Creeper, who prowls Tackleford's streets and leaves people in the hospital with a blank stare and a terrible smile on their face?

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Review:

"In the conversation about young superheroes, John Allison should be right up in there with the very best writers and artists that comics has to offer. I think I've recommended every volume of Bad Machinery as part of 'Best Comics Ever' thus far, but there's a dashed good reason - it's a blinding good comic. Six schoolchildren somehow fall into parts of a mystery in each volume, bickerin' and banterin' it fierce before eventually somehow winding things up together and solving the problem - which sometimes turns out to have been 'ghosts'. In volume 4, we get to see a new boy come to school, who seems a bit lonely, a bit weird, but who one day becomes everybody's best friend. Only one of Allison's hexad see through this veil: Shauna, the one with the most common-sense and conscience in her head. But really, the mysteries in Bad Machinery take a firm second place to the more interesting part of any Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew-style story: the characters. These are such fun, recognisable characters, who feel like kids, act like kids, make mistakes like kids and then solve supernatural mysteries. Er... like kids. Give his site a look, and see how quickly the whole thing wins you over." - Comics Alliance



"Shauna finds herself at loose ends when her fellow crime-obsessed classmates-Lottie, Mildred, Jack, Linton, and Sonny-fall under the spell of mysterious Lem. With the help of Little Claire and a trio of D&D nerds, Shauna must find the out-of-this-world secret behind Lem's appeal. Allison's series, originally a webcomic, is a truly unique blend of fantastical occurrences, British small-town life, and middle-school troubles. Here he focuses on smart, sensitive Shauna, who muddles along despite knowing that the nerds helping her aren't a good substitute for the friends who have left her behind. The mystery is an amusing one and ends in a satisfying manner, though the puzzling final page is likely only to be explained in a later volume. New readers might be a bit at sea with the large cast of characters and the off-kilter storytelling, but the cheerful, silly art combined with the realistic frustrations of young adolescence, make this a wonderful addition to graphic-novel collections." - Booklist



"In this third installment of the series, Allison brings the wit and charm of his British webcomics to fans in the U.S. Readers follow the group of young teens and their attempt to unravel mysteries in their town of Tackleford. Tire book trails various story lines, such as the boys trying to solve arson incidents and the girls endeavouring to "clean up" a troll they found under a bridge. Although the mysterysolving aspect isn't solid, what stands out in this work is the authentic dialogue, characters' constant questioning, and the protagonists' experiences as "new" teenagers. Allison addresses how they are coping with physical and emotional changes, balancing friendships, and romantic relationships in a humorous way. However, the relegation of conversations about love and romance conversations to the girls' narrative and the mystery-solving adventures to the boys' section makes this work in some instances feel too gendered. Tire comicstrip look and layout are solid and along with the vivid illustrations and bold colors enhance the appeal of the series. VERDICT A good, humorous addition to school and public libraries' graphic novel collections." - Sujei Lugo, Boston Public Library, MA, School Library Journal



FOREWARD REVIEWS -- John Allison's acclaimed Bad Machinery series of graphic novels continues with The Case of the Unwelcome Visitor. The book follows Allison's six early-teen protagonists as they search for a new mystery to solve in their native town of Tackleford, England. The hoped-for mystery soon presents itself in the form of a "night creeper" who terrorizes Tackleford, leaving his victims with a strange, absent smile on their faces. With suspicions cast on the new boyfriends of one character's mother and sister, the kids team up with a local reporter to discover the truth. The Case of the Unwelcome Visitor offers a delicately balanced blend of the natural and supernatural, and Allison keeps a light, refreshing tone via humor, even as the mystery deepens; middle schoolers in particular will appreciate scenes like Charlotte convincing her mom she needs a girls' outing to go bra shopping, hiding Charlotte's true intention of meeting up with her fellow mystery solvers. The complex, intense emotions that accompany early adolescence are often handled playfully, but always sympathetically. There are no simple stereotypes, and Allison's writing and art benefit from a natural, easy flow, being the product of one mind that does both equally well. By spreading the focus across his large stable of characters, Allison has not only kept this sixth volume in the series from seizing up and stalling, he's got it running smoothly on all gears.



"While Mildred struggles with her feelings for Lee, a bad boy she met in detention, Sonny is intrigued by the mysterious new girl in school, despite his reluctance to move fully into adolescence. Mildred's troubles are compounded by Lee's still-current girlfriend, from whom he is unable to break away, and by Mildred's friends, Lottie and Shauna, who are full of unhelpful advice. Meanwhile, the usual problems of school and family cause their own stresses for the teens. As in the other volumes of the popular webcomic series, Allison seamlessly blends realistic teenagers, full of both silliness and angst, and fantastic events, in this case, Sonny's crush, which has a strange connection to both a fur pelt Lottie found on the seashore and a weird, hairy man who has been seen in town. Allison's bright colors perfectly highlight his expressive art, with each character having his or her distinct personality. The result is a charmingly odd story that will appeal to both teens and adults." - Booklist




"Allison's art conveys the energy of the story well, with very expressive characters and vibrant line work and colors that is effective in both the fun and serious aspects of the story. Suitable for middle school readers and above, The Case of the Fire Inside offers a fun, mythological mystery while aptly capturing the heady feeling for first love - and first heartbreak." - Diamond Bookshelf

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