Bad Machinery: The Case of the Good Boy (Hardcover) Oni Press Writer and Artist John Allison This weekend while at WonderCon the good folks over at Oni Press had a booth and while talking to a couple of women at the booth they highly recommended a set of books Bad Machinery by John Allison. They described the books as a british teen Scooby-Doo mystery type of stories. They had both soft cover and limited edition hardcovers for sale. I flip through the softcover version to see what the book looked like and I liked the style of the art. I am always looking for different and unique books and it seem to fit the bill. The plot synopsis from Oni is, Everyone’s favorite preteen British detectives are back for another case! With toddlers disappearing and rumors of a large, beast-like creature roaming the woods, Tackleford is in serious danger. And then there’s Mildred’s new dog Archibald… if you can even call it a dog. After all, what kind of dog drinks tea out of a cup? Everything comes to a head once the boys get a picture of the beast and Archibald goes missing. Is there a connection? And what does it all have to do with the magic pencil Mildred won from a carnie con game? Don’t miss the second installment of John Allison’s award-winning web comic series in print! While I liked the book I just didn’t love it and I was sadly underwhelmed with the story. The story originally done as a daily web comic and that might be where it might have not worked for me. I found the story to be a little disjointed at times and also seemed as if some of the story lines didn’t quite gel together when reading the story in one sitting. I did like the characters and some parts of the story were quite brilliant. The part where the Mildred and her family get Archibald and the part where the boys are hunting the best are really good and very focused. On the opposite side the whole part at the end were the boys find the girl in the cave really seems tacked on and didn’t really add anything to the overall story. I will give Allison that he does a great job of portraying teens in both the dialog and the feel. He really gets that very much right. I wish that he would have focused more on the mystery at times but still weaved in the character development a bit better. On the art side of the book I really enjoyed Allison’s work on the book. It has a very simple style on the surface but he is able to convey the emotions exceptionally well. The thing that I love about the art is that it may not be flashy but it fits the tone and emotional core of the story. The coloring is pretty basic it does fit the artwork well. I did like the overall layouts of the artwork and in the below panel you can see one of the examples of when I really liked the story. After reading the book my feelings are really mixed on it. I liked a lot of the story ideas I just felt that there were too many times where the story and tone could have been tightened up. Things that might work very well when you are reading one page a day, may not work as well when you are reading the whole story at once. Maybe if the focus had been sharper I might have gone with it. But when I was finished I was just left with disappointment. Don’t get me wrong I do not think that this book is terrible, it’s far from it. I think the thing that bothered me is that I wanted to like it more than I did. Allison definitely get more right than wrong with this book and for some it will work very well for them. The other thing was that while I really love hardcovers I really felt that this book was really overpriced at $40 being that the trade paperback version is only $19.99. The only difference between the hardcover and the trade is that the hardcover has a gold embossing on the cover and that’s it. For the extra $20 I would have thought that Oni could have done a bit better on this. I will probably try to read some of the other stories on the website to see if they are any different and more to my liking. If you are interested in seeing if you might like the book then I would head over to the BAD MACHINERY WEBSITE and check out this and other stories.