Review by Frank Plowright
Rather than just jumping straight in, as has been the case for other Steven Universe graphic novels, Too Cool for School takes the time to introduce the characters and their purpose. It’s a welcome old school approach, enabling readers who might have chanced across the book without knowing the TV show a chance to join the fun. It’s via Steven having nothing better to do than accompany his friend Connie to school, where she introduces him as her project.
Jeremy Sorcese writes Too Cool for School from a plot provided by Steven Universe show producer Ian Jones-Quarty, and between them they mix Steven’s universe with the standard junior school with amusing consequences. A fun opening sequence has Steven telling the truth about his life to a sceptical teacher, while his defensive mechanisms make him a true dodgeball talent. Inevitably the skills learned have a later practical value, which is the benefit of all education.
As much of Too Cool for School consists of action scenes, artist Asia Kendrick-Horton needs to involve herself in a fair amount of choreographing, yet keeps the style easily understood, the characters looking like the TV show, and the monsters goofily unthreatening. It’s mainly a slimy snail creature providing the problems, and everything works towards a neatly foreshadowed solution.
One of the most enjoyable things about Steven Universe is that everything is basically good natured. Even a scene breaking down the school cliques avoids making anyone nasty, and the monsters are just being monsters, not creatures with a hidden agenda. Just when everything seems to have been settled, though, a new problem arises.
Younger readers will thrill to the adventure of Steven in school, and just in case you’re too cool to actually read the book, be advised that Steven emerges with his reputation intact.