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‘Silver Vessels’ OGN (review)

Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Katia Vecchio
Published by Mad Cave Studios

 

I just came back from a trip to the Florida Keys and this book landed across my desk. The timing got me personally seems fitting and this was a joy to read in that context.

It is a book aimed for teens for sure, yet it has so much more going for it. It is a book that will appeal to teens, sure, but people of any age can easily read and enjoy it. I gave it a read and found it to be more than just a light read.

There is actually a lot here that is explored with many human themes throughout. It is a very appealing book for sure.

Josh Friedman and his best friends Hope Aguilar and Hunter Betancourt, are all from suburban Virginia.

They decide that they are going to go down for a trip to the Florida Keys with Josh’s grandfathers. But they have an ulterior motive for going on this trip. They are going to hunt for a particular treasure horde.

This treasure horde is something special indeed. It is said that it is buried near three forts. Josh and his friends go about finding this treasure. We get to see them formulate a plan for this. And then, they are off, ready to find themselves something new.

It is also something that is going to lead them to some serious unexpected danger, the likes of which they have not seen before.

There is a group called The Apex that is also interested in the treasure. They are a secret group of millionaires who are after the treasure as well. These millionaires wear shark masks which does indeed make a cool visual for the artist.

Make no mistake though, this group of millionaires as as deadly as they come, and that spell trouble for Josh and his friends for sure.

The Apex offer to team up with Josh and his friends at one point. But they are suspicious of them and avoid doing so. That makes them instant foes and they become at odds with them. The friends have to make their escape at one point and it is thrilling. It has a little bit of an “Indiana Jones” flavor to the whole thing that is very appealing. Yet, the story does focus on the three friends very much.

Their character development is truly the focus of the book, at least for me. And it works in spades.

The one aspect they didn’t work for me was the interaction between Josh and his grandfathers.

Some of the dialogue with them felt a bit forced and shoehorned in and they didn’t add much. The book does shine however when the “treasure hunting” happens.

Fortunately, this book has an abundance of scenes that involve exactly that. There is a lot of escapes and a lot of fun in watching the three friends figure out clues. Things are never too complicated or too heavy and that is for the best. It is a really wild time and almost feels like a throwback to simpler times.

The greatest story elements here are the ones about sexual orientation. Josh, Hope and Hunter are exploring who they are in this book. Under a less talented writer it may come off as feeling forced. Yet, Steve Orlando has a light touch that works incredibly well here. It never feels awkward or strange, just real as can be. I love that he took these characters and made something out of them that is different than most leads in comics, especially in this kind of genre. It is smartly and deftly handled.

The end of this book leads us to believe that there could be more adventures with these characters. I would welcome that, but only with this creative team.

Orlando writes an incredibly warm and compelling script. I love the interactions and the adventure. It is thrilling and heartwarming.

The artwork by Katia Vecchio is equally strong. The “acting” in every characters face is perfect and I love the pacing and paneling of the book.

This is a good book and I feel like the universe can surely be expanded. I hope the next adventures are as sharp as this one was.

RATING: B+

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