Title: The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence
Author: Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, and Andie Tong
Publisher: Disney Press
Check this book out on Goodreads.
When twelve magical superpowers are unleashed on the world, a Chinese-America teenager named Steven will be thrown into the middle of an epic global chase. He’ll have to master strange powers, outrun super-powered mercenaries, and unlock the mysterious powers of the Zodiac. (Source: Goodreads)
Steven Lee is on a school trip to China when he gets pulled into a world unknown. He accidentally receives Tiger Zodiac powers and joins a group attempting to stop another person from collecting all the powers for himself. Together the team has to round up the other Zodiacs and try to stop Maxwell from collecting all the power.
That sure sounds like a weak and kind of vague premise doesn’t it? And yet they made a nearly 500 page book out of it! This book is a mess! The premise is weak, the characters are underdeveloped, the pacing is bonkers fast, the book leaves too much unanswered by the end of it’s whopping 500 pages, and it’s all poorly explained, poorly researched, and poorly written. Oh there’s also art throughout, which is…bleh. The art is almost never relevant to the action and hardly ever illustrates something I’d want to see. All around mess, this book.
The premise, as I’ve said, is weak. The character’s in this book don’t have any motivation so that little plot explanation is about all you really get from the full length of this book. Why they’re fighting Maxwell is unclear. Why they’d all team up with Jasmine is unclear. What motivates these people? Nothing that the authors could be bothered to tell you. (Speaking of authors! This book so clearly just slapped Stan Lee’s name on the book, I highly doubt he had much involvement in this book, much like a lot of his other “work”.) This book is like a weird mash-up of Jackie Chan Adventure, Fruits Basket, and like…The X-Men. They basically assemble a bunch of X-Men-ish superpowers that are generally unrelated to the Zodiac signs and then call it Zodiac power. Lame!
So we’ve got a weak plot, motivated poorly by weak characters. This book had a huge cast! Beyond the 12 Zodiac signs we’ve got a supporting cast as well and not one of them has a thorough backstory, motivations, history, or weight to them at all. Steven, the protagonist, is just this sort of blank hero-esque figure without any substance to him. There’s little hints at something deeper to him and maybe Jasmine but they didn’t bother to delve into it in this book. And since they couldn’t be bothered to flesh ’em out now why should I be bothered to read any more of this series? For the most part of characters just act without reason, without thought, and everything just pushes the story to an ending that’s predictable but doesn’t have any substance. We don’t learn a lesson, I don’t think the characters really learned a lesson, it’s all very shallow, faux-super hero action. The pacing of this book is insanely fast. Everything jumps around so quickly there isn’t room to develop a plot or characters. That’s a huge flaw right? These guys didn’t seem to think so.
My comment about poor research kind of comes from a number of things. A big one is the whole Zodiac premise itself is just badly done. The people who take on the Zodiac powers are meant to be born in those Zodiac years. So our characters should have a big age range, a whole 12 year span. But they’re all about the same age. Jasmine who seems only a few years older than Steven has to either be 10 years older or 2 years younger, but she’s very clearly not. On top of that the whole China plot and setting is so poorly done. It’s all very general, the author’s can’t seem to be bothered to learn what Chinese languages and writing systems exist. I didn’t expect any work from both the Disney name and the Stan Lee name but jeez people…it’s your entire premise can you at least try?!
The art is the final thing I want to touch on. WHY WAS IT THERE? I get Stan Lee’s a comic book guy but the art in this was just unnecessary. It didn’t bring anything to the book at all. Often the things illustrated weren’t happening in the book at that time, didn’t happen at all, or weren’t things worth illustrating. Moments when Steven is shocked or in awe that’s what I want to see illustrated not just more sloppy same-y illustrations of people fighting.
This whole book just felt like a bad superhero comic rip-off, with no substance, no care, and no thought put into it. It was fun at times but not worth the effort. I would not recommend it.