Lemonade Code is published by Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group, written by Jarod Pratt, art by Jey Odin and letters by Crank!. Robbie Reynolds lives in the year 20XX. Mankind has made huge advances in technology. To be noticed, you must be brighter and more outstanding than ever. It isn’t enough to be a genius. You have to be a super super genius. Luckily, Robbie is just that. And while it may be a lucky thing for him, it might not be so fortuitous for anyone else. Including the reader.
There’s nothing wrong with a flawed protagonist. After all, without flaws, one cannot grow. And seeing one overcome their own failings is always a great narrative journey. Though there are a couple things to remember when introducing readers to a flawed protagonist. First, the charater in question cannot be so obnoxiously flawed that I actively want him to lose. Second, they actually need to learn about their flaws. Otherwise, the character just ends up being obnoxious. Lemonade Code’s shortcomings begin and end with its failure to handle its flawed protagonist.
As our story opens, young Robbie is preparing to open the most sophisticated lemonade stand the world has ever known. He is giddy with pride over his accomplishment. And to be fair, this lemonade stand does sound pretty impressive.
Fully automated, it can deliver lemonade that is flavored like anything a customer may request. No matter how diverse, unique, or revolting the flavor combination is, his stand can deliver it. In no time at all, he is rolling in sales. But then he spots something his fragile ego cannot handle. Across the street, another child has opened their own lemonade stand.
This stand is far more simple, you could call it quaint even. And it’s selling just old fashioned, classic lemonade. The kind kids have been selling forever. Now, you would think that Robbie’s overwhelming success, coupled with the fact that his rival has but a single sale her first day, would be enough to sate his ego. Alas, not even close. He must flaunt his success, while mocking and teasing his rival.
This continues in Lemonade Code’s story till the crowds realize something. While Robbie can deliver any flavor they could ask for, his lemonade is not nearly as good as the other option. And quality soon wins out over a flashy gimmick.
Now, I know what you are probably thinking. This is the part of Lemonade Code where Robbie takes a step back and realizes where he went wrong, and attempts to right his ship. You’d think that a super super genius would be able to connect those dots huh? No. Instead, he begins obsessing over what dirty underhanded trick his competition must be using to best him. After all, they couldn’t just enjoy her lemonade right?
Robbie’s obsession with unlocking these riddles eventually causes him to unleash a near world-ending cataclysm. With science run amok, he along with his mom, referred to by all as Dr. Momma, and his former rival, must stop an apocalypse before it ends life as they know it. And after all this, Robbie still can’t see where he went wrong.
The vast majority of Lemonade Code’s 160-page story is filled with this spoiled brat’s rantings about the injustices that only he can see have been heaped upon him. He is condescending and obnoxious. So few actual plot points happen between his mad rants that I find myself struggling to believe the book was actually as long as it was. The only way I can accurately describe it is to compare it to the year 2020 itself. So bad that I thought it would never end, while simultaneously leaving my mind with so few hardpoints to grasp onto that it somehow feels like it flew by in retrospective.
The story’s strongest aspect is its art. The work here does what it can to try to make the story as humorous as possible. But with little to actually laugh at, the art must settle for exaggerating takes on a petulant child stumbling from tantrum to tantrum.
When all is said and done, Lemonade Code is a book I cannot recommend to anyone. Even trying to look at it as a read for younger individuals does it no favors. As the protagonist is obnoxious and self-centered, with little to learn from. And there are much better young reader books out there.
Lemonade Code is available now wherever comics are sold.
Lemonade Code is a book I cannot recommend to anyone. Even trying to look at it as a read for younger individuals does it no favors. As the protagonist is obnoxious and self-centered, with little to learn from. And there are much better young reader books out there.