The Dominion Key

illus. by Brandon Dorman. 256p. (Joshua Dread: Bk. 3). Delacorte. May 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385743822; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780375991301; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780385371278.
Gr 4–6—After his dangerous and very public summer with the Alliance of the Impossible in The Nameless Hero (Delacorte, 2013), Joshua is hoping for a normal year in seventh grade—or at least as normal as things can get for the son of the world's greatest supervillains. Unfortunately, the renegade nFinity is back, and he hasn't forgotten his humiliating defeat by the Alliance. The ex-hero is out for revenge—and he's still working for the evil mastermind Vex. Meanwhile, Joshua's parents, the Dread Duo, get together with Captain Justice, their arch-nemesis (and the father of Joshua's good friend Sophie), to consider a safe school environment for the kids—their old alma mater, Alabaster Academy. Between the super-charged curriculum, super-bullies, and secret identities, the friends have difficulty adjusting to their new school—and then they discover nFinity and his goons have followed them. With the traitors' help, Vex has infiltrated the Academy—and is seeking control of The Device—a potent weapon that will enable him to enslave the world. Somewhere at Alabaster is the Dominion Key, which will activate The Device. Alabaster Academy is a kind of Hogwarts for Superheroes, filled with secret passages, ghostly legends, slightly dotty professors, and the occasional death trap. Readers may wish there was more here about life in a super-school, but they will enjoy the series' hallmark bizarre contraptions, including a flying fortress shaped like a massive duck and wildly creepy monsters like the human/motorcycle Cyclaurs. There is also a sweet, gentle side note featuring Sophie's godfathers—two elderly superheroes, Mr. Marvelous and the Whiz Kid, now living together in quiet retirement, but ready to spring back into action for one last exploit. A worthy addition to an original and creative series.—Elaine E. Knight, formerly at Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
After they're attacked by Phineas Vex's minions, Joshua Dread and friends are sent to a school for kids with superpowers. There, they learn that Vex is seeking the Dominion Key, which will give him world domination; they have to find it before he does. Nonstop action and creative, humorous details (like a giant robotic duck) buoy this third series entry.

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