Review copy provided by First Second Books.
I loved Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers and Saints duology, so I was really excited to get Secret Coders in the mail. It’s a comic about programming! With a young heroine named Hopper! It looked right up my alley.
It was not quite what I hoped, and it’s not fair to ding authors for writing what they wanted to write instead of what you wanted to read. It’s an explicitly didactic comic, teaching the sorts of
basic elementary programming lessons you’d learn in a programming class in the mid-’80s. What is binary, how do you make a turtle move…familiar stuff, done as live-action for kids trying to figure out their school and its weird birds and mysterious grounds. The action-adventure plot takes a serious backseat to the programming lessons, and the interpersonal plots feel really paint-by-numbers, the plot twists not very twisty.
This is a worthwhile book, but it’s not the exciting breakthrough I had hoped from the creator of Boxers and Saints. I hope later volumes in the series let Hopper, Eni, and even Josh (why is Josh even there? ugh, shut up, Josh!) find that balance a little more towards the side of excitement.
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