Written by, Kurt Lustgarten & Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith
Art by, Naomi Franquiz
Colored by, Brittany Peer & Kieran Quigley (#5)
Inks by, Raven Warner (#5&6)
Letters by, Jim Campbell
Issue 5 is the start of a new story arc. Captain Bertie leads the Misfits through a series of caves in search of Mary Black’s lost treasure. The Misfits include Karma, Dot, Mace, Wilder, and Todd. Captain Bertie informs the group that the treasure was never located, which upsets the Misfits. They also question his sincerity. A group of adults follows them: the Denby’s, Luther and Millie, and Horace Shipp who are after the treasure, as well. Bertie leaves the Misfits to lead the Denby’s astray while the Misfits follow the trail behind the skull and through a waterfall. The beginning of the story gives the reader some background and sets the stage for the kind of adventure the team has embarked: Mystery, mysticism, and mischief. Honestly, I wasn’t pulled in by this first issue. The character development for The Misfits was lacking, the adult threats were generic, and the mystery surrounding the lost treasure was not compelling.
Issue 6 begins, The Misfits are in the caves beneath Bootlegger’s Bluff. They split up with, Karma, Dot, and Mace in one group with Wilder and Todd in another group. The dialogue between the characters in Karma’s group center on how Wilder likes Todd. Meanwhile, Todd and Wilder follow the map until Wilder tries to kiss Todd and they fall through a trapdoor and land on the other group. Meanwhile, Captain Bertie leads the Denbys and Horace to a trap causing them to fall into a waterfall which plops them in a body of water outside of the caves. Meanwhile, our young heroes have a setback. They follow the map to a clue: an insignia that reads “Choose Wisely.” They are asked to choose between a small pile of gold coins and pulling a small lever. They pull the lever and are jettisoned out of the caves and into a culvert connected to Cannon Cove.
The Misfits regroup and make a plan: they will hire a boat and search the harbor for buoy #15, which Captain Bertie told them was a key to their next clue. The story feels likes it’s meandering a bit in this issue. The dialogue is centered on romantic interests and relational drama, which wasn’t that interesting. Finally, not a lot happens to advance the story in this issue.
Issue 7 begins, The Misfits break into two groups, two members track the Denby’s and the rest follow Horace Shipp to a cemetery in order to gain evidence on the location of the treasure. Meanwhile, Ethel, Wilder’s mom, finds an amulet in a pond. The amulet sprays a green gas, which transforms Ethel into the ghost of Black Mary. Horace talks to a character disguised by a Venetian mask. The masked character breaks off his agreement with Horace because Horace did not produce the deed for the land, which is rumored to hold the lost treasure. The story ends as The Misfits find their way to buoy #15 using the key they got from Captain Bertie to locate Mary Black’s diary. However, The ghost of Mary Black appears but Wilder asks, “Mom?!” I had to re-read this issue several times in order to follow what was going on. Although the connections between Wilder and Ethel created mystery, the pursuit of the adults didn’t seem to move the story forward and therefore bogged things down.
Issue 8 begins, Ethel is dressed in a sheriff’s uniform and is sitting in a cell when she is discovered by a real sheriff who questions how she got the uniform? The story transitions to the Misfits who were given an amulet by the drunken sheriff earlier in the story and will find it useful when they discover where the treasure is buried. Meanwhile, the Denby’s are threatened by Manny Delfino, a local crime boss, to repay the debt they owe him and recover the treasure by any means necessary.
The story makes a transition, providing the backstory of Mary Black. She was married to a company man named John Gray, and for a short while, took his last name. However, she disagreed with the way his company treated the native population and the land, so she deserted him and the home he built for them. We learn that Mary is Native American and had an ancestor who was a witch; this may have been the reason for her deep connection to the people and her openness to the mystical. Mary changed her name to Mary Black, hijacked a ship, and along with her followers, pirated ships on the open seas. In short, the treasure she gained from her pirating days was buried somewhere on an island, pictured on the map and described in the Captain’s Log, which Wilder now read.
Back in the present, the girls discover that the alignment of diamonds on the amulet the sheriff gave them lines up with the alignment of islands in Cannon’s Cove. They steal the Slughorn, the ship they stole earlier and almost sunk, and search for the treasure among The Gray Islands. The Denby’s and Horace Shipp follow the Misfits unnoticed.
The Misfits locate the hidden island, which was marked by a bright green diamond on the amulet, and then find the treasure. The Denby’s and Horace arrive and threaten The Misfits to hand over the treasure. However, the possessed ghost of Mary Black arrives and drives the adults away leaving The Misfits with possession of the treasure.
Wilder searches her motives before opening the treasure chest. She knows from the Captain’s Log that Mary Black put a spell on the treasure chest that whoever opens it must have pure intentions to help the natives of the land in order to open the chest. Wilder successfully opens the treasure chest and plans to use the money to develop resources for the natives of the islands and to honor the land. The Misfits rejoice at their success, the Denbys and Horace were thwarted.
The final chapter of the story tied up multiple loose ends that were developed earlier in the story. The Misfit’s motivation for locating the treasure was validated by Wilder’s pure intention to utilize the money to support the people of the land. The Denbys were threatened by a member of organized crime and so had false motives. This helped Wilder to understand why her mother struggled with alcohol abuse and why she was who she was. Finally, The Misfits coalesced as a team growing more united by overcoming numerous obstacles.
The art in the story was minimalistic but fit the story perfectly by supporting the tone of the book. The character’s facial expressions and body language supported the emotions of the characters accurately all along. I highly recommend this book for young readers or readers who like adventure stories involving young people.