Hazy Retina has a problem. As his name would suggest, he’s out of focus. That's out of focus as in blurry, or hard to see. Blurry isn't a great look for a teenage boy, and not only is it the cause of some in-school bullying, it makes it hard for him to get a date. But haziness runs in Hazy's family, and there isn’t a lot he can do about it. It helps if he can stay calm, but try doing that when you’re being picked on by super creeps, attracted to the opposite sex, and treated like a freak by your own father.
The solution to Hazy’s problem is a way-out one, involving a support group, low grade superpowers, and a hefty dose of empowerment (I'm OK; you're OK). Although it’s wacky, and definitely one for the boys The OK Team by Nick Place is as much fun as a comic book, and full of positive messages for young teens. For reluctant readers, there are lots of gimmicks that will attract attention and make the reading easier, including newspaper articles, cartoons, collectors cards, handwritten notes, photographs, transcripts, and graffiti. It’s all done in an upbeat, lighthearted manner, which reflects the humour in Place’s prose:
I’m so depressed that I’m practically a cloud again. I fall easily through the solid wall onto the street and land on my hands and knees in the alley at the back of the power station.
‘Well, what have we here? Where did you come from, little freak?’ I look up and I’m filled with panic. Stepping out from behind a collection of maybe a dozen big green wheely bins is a crazy-looking man, with a long tangled beard and a nasty look in his eye. Dressed in a tattered coat and a beanie holding back his lank, grey hair, the guy has scars on both cheeks and a tattoo of a Frankenstein bold on the side of his neck. He might be the most frightening person I have ever seen – including some of my school teachers.
Although Retina’s problems aren’t likely to be those that your average teen is experiencing — few kids are troubled by physical haziness, at least in a literal sense — the idea of turning individual characteristics into something positive, rather than something which makes you feel like a “freak”, is one that all children will relate to. At 13 years of age, his awkwardness, and his awakening sense of self is one which provides a good deal of material. The humour — added by such things as a list of attendees at the Victorian Society for the Blurred, a superhero audition, and names like the "human sewer" — of the OK Team's early attempts at foiling low grade crime, along with the silly characteristics (such as a sister who can “see into the past”, or a boy whose superpower is that he is dead), add to the enjoyment and accessibility of this book.