Review: Pax Samson Vol. 1: The Cookout by Rashad Doucet, Jason Reeves

Pax Samson Vol. 1: The Cookout by Rashad Doucet, Jason Reeves

4 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Pax Samson: The Cookout is the first volume in a new action-packed, fantasy trilogy that depicts a world struggling to find peace in the midst of threats, and a young superhero chef torn between following his passion and following in his family’s footsteps. 

When it comes to the kitchen, no one knows cooking better than twelve-year-old Pax Samson. He’s a hero when it comes to testing recipes and supplying copious amounts of Dragon Noodle Soup at his family’s cookouts. It’s tough being a master chef, though, when the rest of his family are world-famous superheroes, and they expect Pax to take up the beacon to keep the world safe with his telekinetic powers. 

Pax's home planet of Soltellus is home to all walks of life, including humans, gods, as well as elves, orcs, dragons, sprites and other fantasy races known as the “Enchanted” all living in a modern society similar to our own. Among them is the Samson family, led by the fearless and mighty Grandma Samson, the greatest superhero to ever live and the person responsible for always saving Soltellus when trouble strikes. She’s been doing it for hundreds of years, but she’s ready for the younger generation of Samsons, including Pax, to step up. 

When the mad god Odin, long-time enemy to the Enchanted race and arch-rival to Grandma, resurfaces in another attempt to regain power, Pax will attempt to put his training into practice, but ends up just making things worse. Tempted to hang up the superhero cape and stick to the kitchen, Pax faces the toughest decision yet when a legendary savior of the Enchanted people arrives, along with a startling discovery that there might be parts of the Soltellus history that are wrong. Pax, determined to protect his family and friends, will do everything he can to stop the new threats set on disrupting the peace between humans and the Enchanted.

Book Review:

What a lovely book! I think this can be classified as a middle grade comic or graphic novel. A fun premise about a boy named Pax who belongs to a family of superheroes called the Samsons. Pax, however, is just interested in cooking. He's a really good cook, and a superhero in training. He feels like he's better at cooking than at superhero duties.

Pax is a kind, respectful boy and I'm sure he'll turn into a wonderfully well-rounded grown up as well. Grandma Samson was the original superhero and her character is the most fleshed out in this story. However, this is Vol. 1 so I fully expect equally detailed backstories for other characters in future volumes! I'd love to read this series for sure.

Pax's family may be full of superheroes, but otherwise they're a normal family with a really supportive and healthy dynamic. I loved how much emphasis they'd put on family, relationships and respect.

Oh, and the artwork was just so beautiful! When I first saw this book on Netgalley, it immediately caught my eye because of how wonderful the cover was. The entire novel is just as beautifully illustrated, and it was a joy to read. If you purchase the e-book version, I'd suggest reading it on a tablet in it's full glory. A phone will certainly not do justice to the beauty in these pages.

I was so pleased to see black representation for all the black boys and girls out there. It's really important for children to be able to see people who look like them - whom they can identify with and look up to - in books and movies, and this book makes a wonderful addition with it's family of black superheroes. I'm not black, so I obviously can't speak for them; this is only my view as a person of color. Oh, and both the author and illustrator are also black!

I definitely recommended this book for middle grade and above! Adults will love it too. If you're artistically inclined, you must certainly check this book out for the wonderful artwork as well. I look forward to reading the next volumes of this lovely debut.

Thank you to Oni Press and Netgalley for the e-arc.

*A review copy was provided to Oh Just Books by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

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