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Girl Genius: Omnibus Edition #1    by Phil Foglio & Kaja Foglio order for
Girl Genius
by Phil Foglio
Order:  USA  Can
Studio Foglio, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Omnibus aptly describes this three hundred and twenty page graphic novel, sharing the misadventures of Agatha Clay in three rather large chapters. While on her way to school one day, Clay's locket (given to her by her parents) is stolen by two thugs. She had promised never to take it off and needs to get it back. But more pressing obligations call to her - such as the school bell at Transylvania Polygnostic University. She works in its research department, often fumbling through research and proving more a hindrance than a help. But a special appearance by Baron Wulfenbach to inspect progress sends Clay's boss and everyone else into a frenzy that will end with Clay being taken aboard the travel airship armada known as Castle Wolfenbach.

Clay happens to possess an unusual talent for machinery and tinkering, known throughout this fantasy world as the Spark. Her locket had kept her from truly accessing the Spark, but now it's been removed, her talents become quickly recognized and she is sought after by different forces. However, before she can decide how to use her gift, she must escape from the malicious Baron Wulfenbach with the help of eclectic friends she meets along the way.

The adventure is filled with a fair share of humor and romance. The authors manage to keep momentum flowing from scene to scene, while mixing exposition with action in moderate proportions. The first chapter appears to be completely drawn with a black and white palette. However, at the onset of chapter two, the graphic novel becomes enveloped in gray hues and shades throughout. This distinction is further marked by the change from white pages to black pages. The crisp edges and style of these chapters also reveal the influence of computers on art. The first chapter may have been drawn on a computer through a stylus or some other GUI, but the other two chapters were produced completely through image programs. In this case, it helps the Foglios provide rich details and backgrounds. The grayscale certainly work, though it is evident it is reproduced from color, which would be most interesting to see.

The Foglios' account of invention, adventure, and romance blossoms into a fun-filled quirky tale of the determined Agatha Clay. Readers will enjoy the light-hearted yet exciting events that unfold within this omnibus, and look forward to future volumes.

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