Into the Volcano by Don Wood

into the volcanoBrothers Sumo and Duffy are completely confused when they are abruptly yanked out of school one day by a mysterious cousin they’ve never met, Mister Come-and-Go, “the only man in the world to graduate with honors from Cambridge and…go three years undefeated in the International Extreme Street-Fighting Tourney.” When informed by their harried father that Come-and-Go will be taking them for a hastily planned visit to their eccentric, gout-ridden aunt Lulu’s  island home of Kocalaha, optimistic Duffy is thrilled while pessimistic Sumo is bummed and more than a little frightened (“Shark attacks!” “Hostile natives!” “Tidal waves!”) Once there, the boys are informed that they will be accompanying Come-and-Go and his crew of native sailors and divers on a dubious “expedition,” presumably for the purpose of leading tourists through the maze of volcanic island paradises. But when Come-and-Go takes the boat straight into the heart of an active volcano, Sumo realizes that the adults aren’t setting a new tourist trap, they’re looking for something–something very valuable and somehow related to his scientist Mom, who is supposedly conducting research in Borneo. Sensing danger greater than that they have already faced, Sumo and Duffy set out on their own to discover the secret of the volcano for themselves. And that’s when the REAL adventure begins…my adolescent friends, I have never seen anything quite like Don Wood’s Into the Volcano. While the art and lettering remind me somewhat of my favorite indi-graphic novel, The Interman, Wood takes it to a new level, his frantically kinetic panels depicting earthquakes, breaking waves and flowing lava so immediately you feel as if you are right with Sumo and Duffy in the thick of the action. And there is non-stop action, which takes off by page 30 and explodes, burns, and plummets to the very end. But least you think that Wood is all brawn and no brain, there is a moving story beneath all the adventure–the story of how petty Sumo transforms from a whiny coward into a real hero. This all-ages action adventure, also riddled with fascinating facts about volcano formation, will engage everyone from Anthony Horowitz fans to MythBusters aficionados.  So take a deep breath and venture Into the Volcano. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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