Spy Classroom Vol. 1 | Review
[Today’s review is by our newest blogger, Renee Scott—Ed.]
Spy Classroom, vol. 1
Yen Press, 2022
In Spy Classroom, a group of misfits are gathered by a mysterious leader to become an elite team, while living in a mansion, that must bring peace to a nation torn apart by war.
Sounds familiar, right?
But what happens when the team of misfits are considered “washouts” that should only to be used as cannon fodder?
(FYI: cannon fodder is an informal, derogatory term for combatants who are regarded or treated as expendable in the face of enemy fire)
In this manga adaptation of the light novel, Lily is determined not only to prove that she is a valuable asset to her team, but that all the girls are valuable and are gifted in their own special way. Each girl has a set of skills, with Lily (codename: Flower Garden) being an expert with poisons. Their unorthodox leader, Klaus, is a master spy who wants to turn this team into a group to be reckoned with.
This story was so action-packed and engaging that I finished it in one sitting. It was difficult to put down, and I’m eagerly awaiting volume two. I honestly liked this more than the light novel. The visuals were easy to follow. The story had me wondering what was going to happen next, and in some hilarious scenes, the girls try to one-up their mentor with outrageous attempts to immobilize him and acknowledge their worth. Lily attempts to poison Klaus during an outing in a rowboat, only to have the plan fail miserably, and they have to hurry back to their home to get the antidote for Lily. In another scene, the girls try to attack him when he is seemingly vulnerable (while he’s in the shower), only to discover not only was he one step ahead, but is also very shameless while defending himself in the nude. While nothing really indecent happens on Klaus’s part, we do get a reminder through their failed attempt that some of the girls in this group of washouts are minors.
And their precious faces say it all when they see their mentor au naturale, and uses it to his advantage. It’s quite hilarious and unexpected.
What also attracted me was the dynamic between Klaus and his new team, especially his relationship with one of the youngest, Sara (codename: Meadow). Sara feels she is an underdog and has nothing to contribute to the group as her talent involves training animals to obey her commands. Her conversation with Klaus is a classic example of mentor-student, even father-child relationships. He tells her, as he did with the other girls when they first met, “each person I scouted has enough talent in them to change the world.”
While we don’t know much about all of the girls yet, as the story so far is mostly centered on Lily and Klaus, I think we’re going to see what these “washouts” can do, and learn that it is never wise to underestimate the underdog.
Filed under: All Ages
About Brigid Alverson
Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good E-Reader.com. Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.
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