Review by Ian Keogh
Outsiders Agnes, Roberta and Ruby are likeable and resourceful, but quirky and that bit too smart, making them targets for their more predatory high school classmates. They’ve banded together as Team Pom for their synchronised swimming team, the name rapidly changed to Team Pompous by others, but their daring allegorical routines fly over the heads of their classmates. However, what might adding a giant squid do for their routine?
Isabel Roxas invests Team Pom and their activities with just the right amount of pathos to ensure they’re sympathetic and enthusiastic without being annoying, and designs them as distinct and cheerful. However, they’re only half the picture. We also see the squid, whose language is fortunately not far removed from the pigeons Agnes communicates with, and two rats in suits tracking the squid down. In a homage to both Tintin and the art world they’re Mister Gilbert and Monsieur Georges. Yes, Roxas has a refined sense of the wacky and absurd. Team Pom is aimed at younger readers, but it’s pleasing there’s a place for jokes to appeal to an older audience also.
Eventually Team Pom take on the impossible task of transporting a giant squid unseen, and Roxas has nice understated way of supplying the jokes, not taking the obvious slapstick route, although there is some of that. She draws a likeable cast, with even the several villains not too threatening, and has a good sense of location. When needed the pictures are definitive in showing New York, but otherwise the places could be anywhere, which is reassuring.
A clever story, funny jokes and friendly art make this first outing for Team Pom a success, and there’s just enough plot left over for a sequel.