Fortunately, the city has Margo Maloo, Monster Mediator, and as Charles finds himself getting deep into trouble with the city’s monsters, he also finds that he has a capable rescuer and guide in Margo. The pudgy, pale Charles is completely out of his depth, but he is willing–eager even–to learn, and he and Margo begin an odd partnership.
Weing includes humor in odd places here, and as he tells his story, works in the message that it is a bad idea to judge by appearances. Charles starts out assuming that he can tell which creatures–and people–are problems just by looking at them. As the story continues, he gains appreciation for Margo’s skills as a mediator, not a fighter.
This is one of the book’s many strengths: It stresses the power of negotiation, of taking a step back and letting each side find out what is really going on and how to solve problems equitably. The book also offers a multi-cultural set of main characters. This time, diversity is not left to the monsters–though they are also a pleasingly varied lot, ranging from the small and harried-looking to the gigantic and tooth-filled.
The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo are online in webcomic form. The physical book, a nicely-sized hardcover with maps on the inside covers, comes out on September 13. You may pre-order it on Amazon or the bookstore of your choice.