Probably not the best spot for a family vacation, call me crazy.Bad Island
is a Young Adult graphic novel by Doug TenNapel
that was published in 2011 by Scholastic.
It tells of a group of people who are given the opportunity to overcome their personal flaws after they're marooned on a remote, uncharted island. This isn't just any
island, either. This is an island populated with strange creatures, increasingly bizarre phenomena, enigmatic architecture, hostile natives, and a mystery that extends back into the far reaches of the distant past...and there are all these flashbacks too.Beat
Okay, that admittedly sounds like very familiar territory
. But while this comic and its better-known predecessor do
share the same basic elements, Bad Island
plays these elements out in an entirely different way.
In the case of Bad Island
, the castaways are a quirky, semi-dysfunctional family of fournote
(and their pet snake) who end up on the island as the result of an ill-fated boating trip. Soon after their arrival, they learn that the island is home not only to ferocious beasts not seen anywhere else on the planet, but also to a very ancient and powerful secret, a secret that someone (or something) would kill to keep hidden... Oh, and there's a subplot with giant sentient robots
. Hey, it's a TenNapel comic; that sort of thing is a given.
Bad Island contains examples of the following tropes:
- The Ace: Reese becomes this to the group this very early on, which only heightens Lyle's sense of inadequacy as the head of the household.
- Action Survivor: All 4 family members qualify as this.
- Adult Fear: Being completely helpless when your child's life is in danger.
- Aliens Speaking English: Averted. The dialogue in the flashbacks are in English, but just for the reader's convenience. With the exception of an instance of telepathy, none of the sentient creatures encountered speak English in the main plot.
- And I Must Scream: Since The Prince is able to communicate with the family, doesn't that mean he was fully conscious - albeit immobile - during his eons of captivity?
- Animate Dead
- Anti-Hero: Lyle is a Type I who eventually manages to drop the "Anti" as he becomes more competent in leading and protecting his family. Reese is a Type II who also drops the "Anti".
- Apocalyptic Log: One is found early on by Lyle
- Badass in Distress: The Prince.
- Big Bad: The Triangle-Headed Alien
- Bigger Bad: The Triangle-Headed Alien's Superior, referred to simply as "Supreme Ruler".
- Big Damn Heroes: The Prince, who intervenes just as the Big Bad is finally about to deliver the killing blow to the family.
- Big Good: The Island itself, which makes the title referring to it as bad rather ironic.
- Butt Monkey: Lyle.
- Character Development: Over the course of the story, the family members learn how to work together as a team, not just in contributing toward a common goal but also in learning to trust each other more.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Pickles the Snake.
- Coming-of-Age Story: Reese's arc is basically this. The same can be said of the Prince, in his case signified by his seemingly-wiser behavior and his new whiskers.
- Cool Pet: Janie's pet snake, Pickles.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The Prince's rematch with The Triangle-Headed Alien.
- Daddy's Girl: Janie.
- Damsel in Distress: Karen.
- Deadpan Snarker: The entire family, other than Janie, seems adept at this, but Karen stands out the most.
- Dem Bones
- Distressed Dude: Lyle.
- The Dreaded: Johnny's Mom.
- Genki Girl: Janie
- Hearing Voices
- Hidden Villain
- Humongous Mecha: Sentient ones exist in the Flashbacks. They protect and rule over a race of smaller creatures that act as the pilots. The Island is actually one of these mechas who was kidnapped and put into forced hibernation.
- I Lied: The Triangle-Headed Alien.
- Indy Ploy: Karen distracting the tribe and buying time so that Lyle can untie himself; it doesn't work, but her efforts did buy them enough time for Reese and Janie to rescue them.
- Killer Rabbit: Johnny.
- Mama Bear: One of the monsters after Reese mistreats its baby.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Prince.
- No Name Given: Most of the non-Earthlings, regardless of how important some of them wind up being to the plot. The only one who actually gets a name is Johnny, and that's technically just what Janie calls him.
- Our Monsters Are Weird
- Posthumous Character: G.K. Higgenbothan
- Pride: The very notion of pride is deconstructed with The Prince.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something
- Sealed Good in a Can / Sealed Badass in a Can: The Prince, aka the Island.
- The Smart Gal: Karen.
- Space Opera: The flashbacks are essentially this.
- Two Lines, No Waiting
- With My Hands Tied