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The Showdown: Sprouse Bros 47 R.O.N.I.N.    by Marc Cerasini & et al order for
by Marc Cerasini
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Showdown follows The Revelation as the second in a mixed text/graphic novel series, written by Marc Cerasini with Dylan and Cole Sprouse, and illustrated by Lawrence Christmas. In the first episode, twin teens (also science nerds and martial artists) Tom and Mitch Hearn learned of their father's and grandfather's involvement with an organization called R.O.N.I.N.. Along with Laura Ting, they set off for Japan, seeking their missing fathers and closely pursued by sword-wielding ninja and other villainous minions.

As the second episode opens, Mr. Chance, right hand man of the boys' father has become their guardian and sensei (teacher). The trio (the twins and Laura) have been assigned a test mission in the Japanese wilderness. There's a helicopter chase, as well as crossbow and bomb attacks, but they pass their final exercise and head into a real mission - at the exclusive Matsu School for computer geniuses, a division of Matsu Cybernetics. A devastating terrorist attack is imminent, and it looks like evil mastermind Julian Vane is behind it.

They encounter a psycho teacher, skateboarding bullies led by Kunio, and Big Brother surveillance. They befriend Brian and Emiko. Mitch is accepted into a special - and somewhat ominous - advanced program. Then students start to disappear, and both action and risks escalate, as do Tom's dreams of a mysterious jade dragon on a remote island mountaintop. As usual the boys' banter enriches the storyline as do eight color comic pages in the middle of the book and an excerpt at the back, introducing the third adventure, The Getaway.

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